After pandemic stopped everything, Ranger Challenge team finally gets second trip to world-class Sandhurst competition
(Posted April 13, 2021)
In the early days of March 2020, Austin Peay’s ROTC Ranger Challenge team was deep in preparation to compete at Sandhurst, the world’s premier international academy military skills competition.
The team had competed the year before in the event hosted by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and had done well, finishing eighth among the ROTC’s 16 best teams.
But the team was vying to improve in 2020. The team changed its training to prepare for West Point’s mountainous terrain, focusing more on improving leg strength and endurance.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic stopped everything.
As with many things COVID, a new year is offering second chances. Austin Peay will be one of the teams who earned a spot last year to compete this year at the prestigious competition.
Austin Peay’s team traveled to West Point on Sunday. The two-day competition starts in earnest on Friday, April 16.
Who’s on the team
Ryan Nanzer is the captain of the team. He and five other ROTC students return from last year’s team. They are:
- Thomas Rose.
- Shawn King.
- Cherady Fine.
- Zachary Labas.
- Thomas Porter.
The other members of the team who traveled to West Point are:
- Quinton Nunn.
- Thomas Haas.
- Dylan Dominique.
- Christopher Mains.
- Angela Kim.
Mark Harrington II is the team’s alternate.
The team has been rigorously training for Sandhurst by conducting dismounted foot marches, weight training, running, and individual and group skills training, said Lt. Col. Mark Barton, the professor of military science for Austin Peay’s ROTC program.
‘Tenacity and grit of future military leaders’
The U.S. Military Academy has hosted the competition since 1967, and it has grown to include teams from across the country and the world. The competition takes the cadets through a rigorous 36-hour course “to test warrior spirit, team cohesion and dedication to mission accomplishment.”
The course covers 16 events across 27 miles and tests individual and squad military skill mastery.
“The Sandhurst competition teaches cadets the mental and physical toughness, the relentlessness and the discipline that’s necessary to work as a team to accomplish the mission,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, U.S. Military Academy superintendent. “It also strengthens relationships with our allies and partners to foster multinational cohesion and interoperability while showcasing the tenacity and grit of future military leaders from across the world.”
This year, 16 Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, 25 U.S. Military Academy teams and three teams from other U.S. service academies. International teams are not competing this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Austin Peay team earned its spot at Sandhurst by winning the 7th Brigade ROTC Bold Warrior Challenge in October 2019 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Austin Peay defeated 37 schools from Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
To learn more
- To learn more about Austin Peay’s ROTC program, go to https://www.apsu.edu/rotc.
- For more about the Sandhurst competition, visit https://www.westpoint.edu/military/department-of-military-instruction/sandhurst.
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