LAWRENCE — Two-person teams from 28 colleges and universities in 12 states competed at the 18th annual Kansas Army ROTC Ranger Buddy Competition on March 3 at the Sesquicentennial Park area at Clinton Lake southwest of Lawrence. Cadets on male, female, or co-ed teams went through a series of grueling events as they vied for the title of Best Ranger Buddy Team.
In the end, the Jayhawks emerged from the 250-cadet competition as the “Top Battalion,” or best overall school. Making the victory possible, KU won first place in the Male Division and Female Division for the event. Leading the way with four first-place finishes in the nine-event competition was Cadet John Bergman, of Free State High School, Lawrence, and Stuart McConnell, who attended Newton High School, Newton. Repeat champions from last year’s event, Bergman and McConnell finished with a convincingly 60 point lead to their nearest competitors. In the Female Division, Cadet Sarah Meyer, who attended New London High School, New London, Iowa, and Madeline Wilcox, who attended Leavenworth High School, Leavenworth – edged out their opponents with a first-place finish in the final 5km run for the day.
The nine events for this year’s contest included a 15 km Ruck March, 7 round robin events and a 5 km race. The round robin events consisted of mini-obstacle courses that tested cadets’ knowledge of knots, planning process, classes of supply and logistics, shooting skills, grenade skills and first aid skills. Additionally, each round robin event included a historical theme to remind cadets of past battles that rangers have fought. For instance, Pointe-du-Hoc included a challenge to scale a hillside reminding cadets of the Rudder’s Second Ranger Battalion’s battle to scale the cliffs during Normandy landings in World War II.
Overall Best School and “Top Battalion”: University of Kansas
First place: Bergman and McConnell, University of Kansas
Second place: Hartfield and Weaver, Pittsburg State University
Third place: Harris and Brodersen, Oklahoma University
First place: Meyer and Wilcox, University of Kansas
Second place: Skaggs and Barbour, Pittsburg State University
Third place: Snamiska and Kehl, Marquette University
Pointe-du-Hoc included a challenge to scale a hillside reminding cadets of the Rudder’s Second Ranger Battalion
First place: Peno and Williams, North Dakota State University
Second place: Johnson and Senff, North Dakota University
Third place: Oberg and Henson, Iowa State University
The following schools competed in this year’s event: University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, Central Missouri State University, University of Colorado–Boulder, University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Marquette, University of Minnesota–Mankato, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Missouri–Columbia, Missouri Science and Technology, Missouri Western State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Northeastern State University, University of Northern Iowa, University of Oklahoma, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Washington University and Wentworth Military Academy.