Maranatha repeats victory at ROTC Ranger Challenge


Maranatha ROTC Ranger Challenge TeamThe Maranatha ROTC Ranger Challenge Team has done it again. Charlie Company repeated its 2009 victory by finishing first in the Five-Man Ranks Competition during the Army ROTC 3rd Brigade 2010 Ranger Challenge at Ft. McCoy on Oct. 1-3.

The team consisted of Joe Furnari (coach), Ben Zakariasen (captain), Matthew Allen, Jared Domsic, Jeremy McPhillips, Richard Warren, and Russell Townsend (alternate).

The training consumed three hours a day, six days a week. For the first time, the Ranger Challenge Team held a preseason that allowed additional training time for the new cadets. The training consisted of physical, technical, and tactical aspects. Conditioning runs were conducted every other day with weight training on the off days. Afternoon training focused on one-rope bridge, room clearing, weapons, and medical training.

Ranger Challenge

Final team scores from the Five-Man Ranks Competition at the 3rd Army ROTC Brigade 2010 Ranger Challenge at Fort McCoy, Wis.:

Team   Points
1. Maranatha   2,520
2. UW-Whitewater   2,260
3. Michigan Tech   2,220
4. UW-Oshkosh   2,100
5. Marquette   2,080
6. UW-Madison   2,040
7. UW-LaCrosse   1,740
8. Northern Mich.   1,600


Ranger Challenge Daily Journal

1 October 2010: A Bad Start

The first event, Night Land Navigation, came on Friday night.  This event usually sets the tone for the rest of weekend. Unfortunately, there was a mistake made and 50 points were deducted from Maranatha’s score. This took Charlie Company down to fourth place. This was not a good start for the weekend. However, the team focus for the weekend was “one event at a time.” The team resolved to give 100 percent effort in each event, putting the past behind and focusing on the task at hand.

2 October 2010: Turning the Tide

The next day brought the main events: PT test, obstacle course, one rope bridge, day land navigation, litter carry, first aid/HMMWV pull, room clearing, and weapon disassembly and reassembly. After the PT test and obstacle course, Maranatha had moved up to second place behind UW-Oshkosh.

The most painful event of the weekend was the litter carry. Cadet Ben Zakariasen said, “I had done it the year before, but I had forgotten what it was like, and the other three carrying the litter had no idea what to expect. I cannot adequately describe it.” The litter carry was finished in 3 minutes, 15 seconds, which turned out to be one of many high points of the day.

Maranatha's ROTC Ranger Challenge TeamMaranatha continued to do well on the next events including the medical evaluation/HMMWV pull, room clearing and weapons, and day land navigation.The team then headed back to the barracks to prepare for the next day’s 10K ruck march. As the team was preparing for the next day, news arrived that Maranatha had taken first place in the litter carry event, day land navigation, and in room clearing and weapons. The team had taken second place in the medical evaluation/HMMWV pull. The result was that Maranatha was so far ahead that, even if the team were to finish last in the ruck march, they would still win first place in the overall competition.

3 October 2010: The Final Effort

Oct. 3 was a good day to be on the Maranatha Ranger Challenge Team. The ruck march began at 0705. The team “shuffled” the entire way and finished fourth (out of eight) in the 10K ruck march. The only task remaining was the awards ceremony. Maranatha received first place in the five-man team category as well as four guidon streamers for first place in four separate events. The team had worked hard in preparing for this competition, and that work had paid off.

Ben Zakariasen had this to say in summary of the weekend:

“We felt that God was really glorified this year. Last year could have been considered a fluke, but, this year, everyone was gunning for us and we won again. Now the other schools hear about Maranatha and they say, ‘There is something different about those cadets. They seem to be more motivated then we are. I wonder why?’

“I believe God has used us to be a great testimony to the various secular schools in the Ranger Challenge competition and I hope that, with hard work and training, we will continue to be for years to come.”