The 27th annual Army ROTC Ranger Buddy Competition was hosted by the University of Kansas (KU), and was held at Clinton Lake on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Forty-three separate universities were represented at this year’s event, with a total of 170 two-person teams competing.
This day-long event is full of various challenges that require a mental mind-set and strong physical skills in order to navigate each obstacle to achieve its objective. Training for this event takes months and Cadets go through multiple rigorous challenges to prepare for what is needed to qualify to participate. Two-person teams (either all male, all female or co-ed) converge on the town of Lawrence to test their skills.
The Golden Buffalo Battalion sent three teams to compete:
1. Male Team
CDT Isaac Mun, a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder
CDT Brian Sheets, a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder
2. Female Team
CDT Sarah Schomaker, a sophomore at Colorado Christian University
CDT Claire Fleckenstein, a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder
3. Co-ed Team
CDT Eldon Jackson, a freshman at Colorado Christian University
CDT Jessica Stanfill, a freshman at the University of Denver (DU)
CDT Kalen Kostal, a freshman at the University of Denver (DU)
The event began with a 15K buddy ruck/run (each Cadet carrying a 35 lb ruck, a rifle, and water). CPT Illies and his two NCOs (SFC Nick Silva and SFC Joshua Nearhoof) were acting trainers that lead the Cadets through the entire event. The Cadets teams then conducted 15 different Expert Infantry/Soldier Badge skill lanes. Lanes consisted of tasks like, operating weapon systems organic to a rifle platoon; identifying and employing hand grenades; first aid/medical treatment; weapon assembly/disassembly; and tactical combat casualty care. The event finished with a grueling 5K buddy run that included a 135 lb sled drag.
Our Co-ed team took first place in their Ruck March and 5K Buddy Run events and placed fourth out of 53 teams. Our Female team also excelled on their Ruck March, placing fourth out of 26 teams.
Our goal is to win this event next year due to the young returning teams, and under the leadership of the dedicated Cadre and Cadets within the Golden Buffalo Battalion.
Awesome job Cadets!!!