On Saturday, Oct. 26, at 17:30 military time, 5:30 p.m. civilian time, BYU-Idaho’s ROTC placed eighth in the ranger challenge, with 58.5 points.
Starting at 8 a.m., cadets began their first event, the grenade course. Team captain Beth Horan, a senior studying recreation management, and co-captains McKay Mclelland, a junior studying industrial organizational psychology, and Eli Moreira, a junior studying manufacturing engineering, led the way.
The Viking Company crawled up to 40 feet to reach the point where they could throw a yellow-flagged dummy grenade. The team gained points from each grenade landing within a certain distance from the target.
Team members shouted “bang bang” to simulate firing at the enemy. On the last grenade point, Riley Grimshaw, a freshman studying history education, crouched and drew back his arm to throw. The grenade landed right outside of the target, a narrow doorway of an abandoned building.
While his fellow cadets yelled “bang bang” in the background, Moreira ran to the left side to try another throw, missing inside the target by hitting the doorway.
The next event required the team to push a 2,000 pound HMMWV across a field with equipment and team members inside.
George Howlett, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, said they accomplished most tasks through teamwork, which helped them push further and faster.
“It was a lot of work, but I would do it again hands down,” Howlett said.
Following the HMMWV push was the grinder, which involved carrying a dummy paired with 200 pounds of sandbags up a hill to show the team’s medical procedure skills.
“We definitely have some cream of the crop kids coming out this year,” Moreira said. “I have a lot of faith in them.”
After several hours, the Viking company faced the mystery challenge. This involved climbing a nine-foot wall without touching the bottom three feet, then carrying a 200-pound dummy 200 yards, and ending with a call for fire, something the cadets were not previously trained on.
According to Seth Gohnert, a freshman studying exercise physiology, this part of the mystery event was challenging, but they managed to finish with a second to spare.
“I know where to improve for next year,” said Ryan Foote, a freshman majoring in international studies, this ranger challenge being his first.
Grimshaw said he learned to not be sick for the next ranger challenge, this year also being his first.
The last event was a 12 kilometer — or seven and three-quarters of a mile — foot march with 35-pound rucks on their backs.
“Rucking, in general, is tough, it really wears you down,” Howlett said.
According to him, some teammates carried two rucksacks at the same time.
After almost two hours, the team finished, sweaty and breathing heavy with smiles across their faces. Everyone did well according to Horan and Aysha Ogden, a freshman studying exercise physiology, despite cramps and old injuries flaring up.
”I’m really proud of these guys,” Horan said. “A lot of them, it’s their first time doing ranger challenge, and they’ve pushed themselves to the limits. You can tell that they have put everything into it. It’s really cool to be able to have people like this who are so committed to the military and to our school.”