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Jason Dvorak and Rachel Fitcha low crawling under a wire obstacle at the 2013 Ranger Buddy Competition.

Students win national Army ROTC Ranger Buddy competition

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News Fargo,North Dakota 58102
Students win national Army ROTC Ranger Buddy competition
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

Students in North Dakota State University's Army ROTC program won the title of Best Battalion in the 2013 Ranger Buddy Challenge Competition.


NDSU's Bison Battalion took home the top trophy in the 19th annual competition hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., April 20. The team is comprised of students from NDSU, Concordia College Moorhead and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

This year's annual event included 39 universities from 14 states. The competition is divided into three categories: men, women and co-ed. The scores of each university's top teams in each category are added up to determine the overall winner. A total of 183 teams fought for the title in various events aimed at challenging participants both mentally and physically.

In the women's category, NDSU's team placed second out of 22 teams. This top team included Johannah Wiege, Rapid City, S.D., and Abigail Peno. Wiege is an NDSU junior majoring in architectural engineering.

NDSU's top men's team placed 11th out of 136 teams. Team members included Caleb Hamilton, Minneapolis, Minn., and Todd Lowell, Palmer, Alaska. Hamilton is an NDSU junior majoring in criminal justice and Lowell is an NDSU junior majoring in civil engineering.

NDSU's top co-ed team placed fifth out of 32 teams. This team included Jason Dvorak, West Fargo, N.D., and Rachel Fitcha. Dvorak is an NDSU sophomore majoring in criminal justice.

Bison Battalion also brought two other teams who performed well in the annual competition. NDSU's co-ed team comprised of Christopher Gerving, an NDSU sophomore majoring in finance from Beach, N.D., and April Kuck, placed seventh out of 32 co-ed teams. Brady Holte and Cody Holte, both NDSU sophomores majoring in criminal justice from Hendrum, Minn., placed 63rd out of 136 men's teams.

"This was a major victory for the Bison Battalion," said Lt. Col. Santiago G. Bueno III, professor of military science in NDSU's Army ROTC program. "With 70 enrolled cadets, we are one of the smallest programs, so being able to take first place really shows the quality of our cadets."

The rigorous competition began at 5 a.m. with teams participating in a 15K foot march wearing a rucksack that weighed 35 pounds or more. The teams then completed six different lanes as fast as they could. The lanes were based on Rogers' Orders, rules developed by Maj. Robert Rogers, a military leader during the 1700s. One lane, for example, was based on Rogers' Order No. 16, "Don't cross a river by a regular ford." Teams received a scenario related to the order and a series of tasks to complete, such as treating and calling in an injury and then retrieving a medical kit that had landed in water.

NDSU's ROTC students followed a specific and grueling workout routine to prepare for the mentally and physically demanding competition. This routine had the students working out for an hour-and-a-half six days a week.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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Jason Dvorak and Rachel Fitcha low crawling under a wire obstacle at the 2013 Ranger Buddy Competition.

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The 3rd ROTC Brigade Commander, Colonel Dean Shultis, presented the NDSU Buddy Ranger Challenge team with the best Battalion Trophy at the 19th Annual Buddy Ranger Challenge Competition hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS on 20 April 13.

Standing - Colonel Dean Shultis, Caleb Hamilton (JR. NDSU), Christopher Gerving (Soph., NDSU), Brady Holte (Soph, MSUM), Todd Lowell (Jr., NDSU), Cody Holte (Soph, MSUM), Abigail Peno (Soph., Concordia) and Command Sergeant Major Richard Johnson

Kneeling - April Kuck (Jr. Concordia), Rachel Fitcha (Soph., Concordia), Jason Dvorak (Soph., NDSU) and Johannah Wiege (Jr., NDSU)