Bison Battalion Wins National Military Competition


Jason Dvorak and Rachel Fitcha, members of NDSU’s top co-ed team, low crawling under a wire obstacle.

Students in North Dakota State University’s Army ROTC program won the title of Best Battalion in the 2013 Ranger Buddy Competition in Lawrence, Kan., on April 20, 2013.

Thirty-nine universities from 14 states brought 183 teams to the annual competition that challenges participants mentally and physically.

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.

NDSU’s top women’s team, which included Johannah Wiege, an NDSU junior majoring in architectural engineering, and Abigail Peno, a Concordia sophomore majoring in nursing, placed second out of 22 teams.

NDSU’s top men’s team, which included Caleb Hamilton, an NDSU junior majoring in criminal justice, and Todd Lowell, an NDSU junior majoring in civil engineering, placed 11th out of 136 teams.

NDSU’s top co-ed team, which included Jason Dvorak, an NDSU sophomore majoring in criminal justice, and Rachel Fitcha, a Concordia sophomore majoring in exercise science, placed 5th out of 32 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 competition started at 5 a.m. with a 15K foot march wearing a rucksack that weighed 35 pounds or more. Then teams 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.

To prepare for the mentally and physically demanding competition, NDSU’s ROTC students worked out for an hour-and-a-half six days a week.

NDSU’s other two other teams also did well. Christopher Gerving, an NDSU sophomore majoring in finance, and April Kuck, a Concordia junior majoring in graphic arts, placed 7th out of 32 co-ed teams. Brady Holte and Cody Holte, both NDSU sophomores majoring in criminal justice, placed 63rd out of 136 men’s teams.

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