Tarleton State University’s Army ROTC Texan Battalion defended their 2017 title and dominated this year’s Ranger Challenge with teams bringing home both first and second place after competing this past weekend at Fort Hood.

Tarleton was among 12 teams representing eight universities and claimed the top two placings for the first time in the university’s history. The Texan Battalion’s Team Rudder won first place while Team Dyess claimed second. Baylor rounded out the top three finishers.

Teams are comprised of nine cadets who push their limits and test their skills in five main events that make up the three-day ROTC Ranger Challenge. Teams must include a cadet from each classification — freshman through senior level — and one female cadet.

The cadets, many of whom will earn their U.S. Army commission as second lieutenants within the next two years, began the weekend competition with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test followed by the night land navigation event.

On day two, cadets spent hours moving kilometers between the six lanes of the warrior task event, designed to test their tactical skills before heading into the commander’s challenge.

During the one-rope bridge event, the entire team crossed a creek with all equipment as quickly as possible. Any mistakes added penalties to the final time.

Cadets finished up the competition with a 10-mile ruck march carrying 35-pound packs and concluded with an awards ceremony.

Tarleton’s first-place Ranger Challenge Team Rudder advances to the Army ROTC’s 5th Brigade Ranger Challenge Head-to-Head Competition at Joint Base San Antonio - Camp Bullis to compete against other regional winners from a 12-state footprint.

Tarleton ROTC Cadets representing the two Texan Battalion teams:

Team Rudder – First Place: Tristan Garza, Brittany Burch, Gabby Howers, Cory Chidester, Jacob Garcia, Justin Bray, Elias Ortiz, John Zellner, Adam Arata, Austin Laughlin and Nick Bonicoro.

Team Dyess – Second Place: Ryan Thomas, Justin Brunett, Chris Mazzocchi, Kaleb Williams, Cameron Lehr, Ben Young, David Lingle, Jacob Worley, Robert Lindsey, Luis Zamora and Katie Kalil.

The Tarleton Army ROTC program is under the guidance of Maj. Jay Bradley, professor of military science, and Master Sgt. Jacob Gilmer, senior military science instructor. Serving as cadre coach is Capt. Matthew Stapay.