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Sources: Terry Battison,;
and Matthew Cavanaugh,
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's Army ROTC Wildcat Battalion varsity team took sixth place out of 18 teams at the recent Task Force Dodge Regional Ranger Challenge, a premier intercollegiate competition at Camp Dodge in Iowa.

The placement is the best that the battalion has achieved in the last four years, according to Terry Battison, public affairs officer of K-State's Army ROTC program and senior in fine arts, Manhattan.

Nicknamed "15 hours of pain," Ranger Challenge is considered the varsity sport of the ROTC program. It is designed to provide the ultimate physical and mental challenge for cadets. The competition consists of eight events: the Army physical fitness test, grenade assault course, basic rifle marksmanship, field leader reaction course, orienteering, one rope bridge, weapons assembly and disassembly, and the 10K ruck march.

Matthew Cavanaugh, varsity team captain and senior in finance, Topeka, said that the 10K ruck march is the most difficult of the eight events.

"It's the last and most physically demanding event of the competition, so cadets have been up competing for 15 to 16 hours straight at this point," he said. "Cadets are tired and hungry. It's where you see who is able to gut it out and finish strong."

The battalion sent both varsity and junior varsity teams to the regional competition, with the varsity team placing second in the Army physical fitness test, third in orienteering and fourth in the 10K ruck march.

K-State also had the top female and male individual Army physical fitness test scores of the entire competition. Lora Marietta, senior in psychology and pre-occupational therapy, Oberlin, finished with a score of 342 and Christopher Robinette, junior in sociology, Cedar Vale, finished with a score of 369, which are both over the maximum physical fitness score of 300.

"This reflects very positively on the ROTC program as a whole," Cavanaugh said. "It gives a glimpse of the quality of cadets that we have in the battalion ranging from new freshman to our senior class. The 18 competitors represented K-State. Our actions spoke for K-State."

Other K-State Wildcat Battalion varsity and junior varsity team members who participated in Ranger Challenge include:

Lauren Palmquist, freshman pre-journalism and mass communications, Bel Aire; David Ghormley, senior in psychology and junior varsity captain, Benton.

From Greater Kansas City: Ryan Kirkeby, senior in sociology, and Luke Wiggins, freshman in business administration, both from Leawood; and Kyle Kneale, freshman in sociology, and Kevin Warnecke, freshman in sociology, both from Prairie Village.

Christopher Dirks, junior in history, Junction City; Joshua Oelschlaeger, freshman in political science, Linwood; Gregory Bremser, freshman in electrical engineering, and Stephen Wiemers, senior in management information systems, both from Manhattan; Nathan Reynolds, sophomore in sociology, Salina; Jacob Flynn, sophomore in history, Wichita; and Thanh Orr, freshman in engineering, Winfield.

From out of state: Halston Ladd, freshman in animal sciences and industry, Pittsboro, N.C.; and Benjamin Novak, junior in mechanical engineering, Vancouver, Wash.