Army ROTC Team Wins First Place

PROVO, Utah – Nov 09, 2017 – Many college students across the country would not pass up the opportunity to sleep in on a Saturday morning—but a team of Brigham Young University Army ROTC students was on a grueling twenty-mile journey of cross country movement recently before the sun was even up.

Nine students and one alternate from BYU Army ROTC program arose early to compete against thirteen other teams from Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. They took first place at this year’s Ranger Challenge at Camp Williams and will be attending the regional competition in Texas.

“The most impressive thing was to see them cross the finish line, drop their packs, pull off to the side, and drop to a knee to say a prayer,” says Lieutenant Colonel Forrest Cook. “These cadets really do ‘Rep the Y!’”

Spencer Allen, physiology and developmental biology junior from Lindon, Utah, was the team leader who guided them to victory. Allen says it was a tight race; the team who won first place the last four years trailed right behind them the entire competition. Up until the very last task, both teams were neck and neck to complete the final task.

“We pulled through at the last event to make rafts out of our ponchos, and we were able to do it faster,” says Allen. “They finished just four minutes after us, so it was a hard-fought and exciting race.”

In addition to building rafts, the competition consisted of carrying heavy backpacks throughout the whole event and participating in tasks such as: land navigation, radio communications events, tactical medical care, weapons assembly, marksmanship, and functional fitness.

Monica Huston, an English junior from Yuma, Arizona, is the only female on the team, and this is her first semester in ROTC. At the start, she was worried that she wouldn’t qualify to compete in certain tasks of the competition. If one person didn’t qualify, the whole team wouldn’t get a chance to compete in the event.

“It's tough when you're 116 pounds carrying a 40-pound ruck," Huston says, "but I put forth my best effort and was able to push through with the support of my team."

Overall, Allen says he enjoyed watching his team execute tasks that are incredibly difficult, growing close to them, and working together as a group.

“We are dedicated for the right reason—to serve,” says Allen. “We want to improve ourselves, so when we end up becoming army officers, we’re able to be effective and efficient tools in God’s hands.”

BYU's Army ROTC team competing in a task at the Ranger Challenge.
The team and other individuals from BYU ROTC kneeling together in prayer.

Writer: Emily Colon