Rally at Rudder to send Ranger Challenge team to West Point contest

Ranger Challenge Team From left are Gabby Howes, Robert “Scout” Lindsey, John Zellner, Esias Ortiz, Christopher Mazzocchi, Adam Arata, Nick Bonicoro, Luis Zamora, Layne Chidester, Justin Bray, and Austin Laughlin, team captain. Yvonne Martin is not pictured.

STEPHENVILLE (April 1, 2019) — It’s a Texan-style pep rally at 3 p.m. Friday, April 5, to send Tarleton State University’s Army ROTC Ranger Challenge team to the prestigious Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at West Point in New York. Everyone’s invited.

The rally takes place at the statue of Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder on the Stephenville campus.

Expect lots of hat throwing, hand clapping, foot stomping and cheering as cadets head to the premier academy-based military skills contest April 12-13.

“What a special thing to have Tarleton’s Ranger Challenge team represent ROTC in the 51st Sandhurst competition,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Lee Evans, assistant commandant of the Texan Corps of Cadets. “This marks the first time in Tarleton history that the team has participated in the contest, and we’re the only Texas-based ROTC unit with our hat in the ring.”

Tarleton will compete against 14 international teams, 16 ROTC programs, 16 U.S. military academy teams and three U.S. service academies in a rigorous 27-mile course to test individual and squad military skills.

The Tarleton team qualified for Sandhurst after dominating the preliminary regional competition at Fort Hood, making university history by winning both first and second places, and finishing second in the Army’s ROTC 5th Brigade challenge at San Antonio’s Camp Bullis.

Called the varsity sport of the Army ROTC, Ranger Challenge focuses on basic infantry skills, demanding countless hours of training and self-sacrifice.

“Ranger Challenge consumes a tremendous amount of time and demands physical effort that very few humans have ever realized,” Lee said. “The commitment and dedication of Tarleton’s Ranger Challenge team is unmatched.

“These cadets embrace the pride and spirit of their fellow Texans and certainly understand the honor of representing Tarleton State University at this momentous event. We encourage the entire community to help us send these young men and women off Texan-style.”

Team members are Adam Arata, Nick Bonicoro, Justin Bray, Layne Chidester, Jacob Garcia, Gabby Howes, Robert “Scout” Lindsey, Yvonne Martin, Christopher Mazzocchi, Esias Ortiz, Luis Zamora and John Zellner. Austin Laughlin leads the team, and Master Sgt. Jacob Gilmer and Capt. Matthew Stapay, both active-duty U.S. Army Rangers, are coaches.

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