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KU CADETS AND MIDSHIPMEN VIE FOR COMMANDERS' CUP
(Lawrence, Ks., Nov. 1, 2020) - For the last eight months, Jayhawks have been cooped up in their nests, leaving many longing for a glimpse of what life looked like before March. Between working essential jobs, quarantining, and taking online courses, the lives of KU students have been turned upside-down. But the Jayhawk spirit withstands hard times, and that truth lay at the heart of one group's push to bring back a little normalcy in an otherwise unfamiliar semester.
Cadet Rachel Witt, the Army ROTC Cadet Battalion Commander, let out a low growl. The crushed rock bit into her palms, her triceps quivered, her elbows wobbled. But she growled and she pushed, and she kept on pushing until nothing in her could lift her chest from the cold ground of the KU band’s practice field. She’d reached muscle failure. She’d managed to crank out 40 in cadence push-ups to beat all the other contenders in the Commander’s Cup.
“After running my quickest mile since high school track, cadence push-ups with proper form in the cold was quite the challenge,” the KU senior said, as she sat back on her heels and rubbed her hands together. Pebbles that had found a home in the heels of her palms rained down.
The push up competition was just one of many events conducted throughout the week pitting cadets and midshipmen of the Air Force, Navy, and Army ROTC programs against each other to determine the winner of the 2020 Commander’s Cup, an award sought after primarily for bragging rights, but also for a coveted trophy. These events included a small arms competition, the mile-run and push-up competition, several swimming events, a team e-sport gaming event, and a cumulative total mileage for the cadets from their respective programs.
The competition varies each year and in spite of the restrictions imposed by COVID, this year’s iteration – designed by the Air Force and run during the final week of October – was a fantastic event. Cadet Grady Petit remarked, “This was the first time this semester that I had a spike in adrenaline.”
This year’s iteration was won by the Air Force cadets who were able to endure several close calls from the Army, Navy, and Marines to capture the cup. Over 200 cadets participated in total.
The University of Kansas ROTC departments recruit, develop, and commission talented cadets dedicated to providing our Nation the leadership necessary to fight and win in a complex world. Scholarships through ROTC are available for eligible freshman and sophomores; prospective candidates are encouraged to visit KU’s Military Sciences Building for more information.