Army ROTC cadets compete nationally
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 13:04
A small group of local Army ROTC cadets traveled from the Fargo-Moorhead area to the University of Kansas to compete in a national team-based competition March 31.
The Bison Battalion, which refers to the collective tri-college Army ROTC program, returned from Lawrence, Kan. with a handful of awards, including first place recognition in the co-ed division.
The competition began at 4:30 a.m. and ended only after cadets completed a day full of marching, running and proving tactical prowess.
Cadet Sean Williams of NDSU took first place in the co-ed division with his partner, Cadet Abigail Peno of Concordia. He says that coming out above the other 18 teams in the division was a difficult but rewarding task.
"The [competition] was one of the hardest physically and mentally challenging events I've ever done," Williams said. "Taking first place was a dream come true for Abby and I. It meant the months of hard work we put in were worth it."
A first-place finish at the event provided Williams and Peno with a trophy, a plaque, a scholarship, a knife and entry into the U.S. Army Air Assault Course in the summer.
Taking first place was a landmark event for the Bison Battalion, according to LTC Santiago Bueno, professor of military science.
"This is a huge win for the Bison Battalion and NDSU, as this is a first-time title win at this competition for NDSU," Bueno said in a written statement. "Our cadets trained six days a week for this competition and it really paid off."
In addition to the first-place finish, Cadets Mitch McGillick and Luke Daley took fifth of 94 teams in the male team division.
The Bison Battalion also took 19th, 25th and 39th in this division.
According to Williams, these collective wins are more important than his own.
"First place for the Bison Battalion is important, but not as important as all the places all of our other teams took in the competition," Williams said. "Overall, as a whole school, NDSU came in third ... at the competition, beating out UND."
Williams says this prepares the Bison Battalion for the nine-man competition they will be participating in this coming fall.
"If everyone continues to work as hard as they have all spring, we will be bringing home the first-place trophy this fall," Williams said.
“No mistakes, no penalties was our motto,” Daley, who took fifth place in the male team division with McGillick said, “and that’s exactly what we did. ... There was not one event that we didn’t push ourselves to the limit. I can say that with confidence.”
“Our battalion size may be smaller than compared to a lot of schools, but the quality of our cadets here is unmatched,” McGillick said.