Mountain Ranger Battalion to compete at national competition

Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Daphney Black.

This year, for the first time ever, the Mountain Ranger Battalion’s ranger challenge team will represent the UCCS Army ROTC at the annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition.

The two-day event, which assesses competitors on their physical fitness and military skills, will occur at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, N.Y., from April 29-30. The competition is expected to bring teams from West Point, Army ROTC units across the U.S., all service academies and 16 international teams from across the globe.

“Being the first team to make it to Sandhurst from the Mountain Ranger Battalion is an honor and didn’t come for free,” said cadet Andrew Dunlap, a team member. “While Sandhurst is our Super Bowl, we will treat it like the past competitions and compete at our highest level. We will not hold back; the pressure will be used as motivation. We know what we did wrong in previous competitions and will use those lessons to guide us through our next journey.”

The team has never advanced at this level, so this is a big moment for them. However, the team is not dwelling on what might be. Instead, the team has been using that energy positively to focus every member’s attention on the task at hand.

They’ve been training hard in the hope of making history and becoming the first team to bring a win for the battalion.

“Our team had a goal at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester — to make it to Sandhurst,” Dunlap said. “That goal has been accomplished with hard work, dedication and teamwork. However, that doesn’t mean we are done; we still have one more goal to accomplish at Sandhurst. We couldn’t be prouder, and we are ready to lead our team from the Mountain Ranger Battalion and UCCS to the best of our ability.”

They have been waiting for the opportunity to represent their battalion on what is considered the biggest stage in the ROTC ranger challenge. Dunlap said the team is ready to lay it on the line at the competition; he said they are prepared for anything.

“We look forward to the suck and always seek a challenge,” Dunlap said. “So, you can expect to see physical limitations pushed to the max, hard work, dedication, teamwork, and leadership at the competition. This competition is our time to prove that the Mountain Ranger Battalion is made of strong cadets that maintain their endurance and never shy from a challenge. We want to prove we are the best and can face anything that comes our way.”