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The U won the national title in the rigorous competition back-to-back in 1985 and 1986.

By Brooke Adams, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

Two teams of cadets from the U’s Army ROTC program will compete in the Ranger Challenge Saturday at Camp Williams—vying for a title the U last owned in the 1980s.

The intense competition begins at 3 a.m. and will have the cadets rapelling, participating in a 10K road march, navigating an obstacle course and demonstrating other military-related skills before it wraps up at 6 p.m. The U Army ROTC teams will be competing against other programs from within Utah and from Wyoming, Utah and Colorado ROTC.

Each U team includes nine competitors and one alternate. Rules require the teams to include students representing each class level and at least one woman.

The U’s Army ROTC program draws students from on campus as well as from Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College; those schools are represented on the Ranger Challenge teams.

The teams began training for the physically and mentally challenging event at the start of the semester, said Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Friese, a military science program instructor. The Ranger Challenge training is in addition to required physical training classes, he added.

“It’s been really challenging, that’s for sure,” said Mirabel Duncan, a sophomore at Westminster and cadet in the U’s Army ROTC program. The teams have worked not just on physical ability but tactics and technical skills that will be tested during the competition, she said.

And while a strong effort from each individual participant is needed, it is even more important to be able to work cohesively as a group, Duncan said.

The winning team will be eligible for a multi-state regional competition, which leads to a national competition later this year. The U has won the national title twice in the past—first in 1985 and again in 1986, Friese said.

Go Utes!