Bulldog Battalion ready for Ranger Challenge

Bulldog Battalion ready for Ranger Challenge

SPOKANE, Wash. - One local college team is set to participate in one of the biggest competitions of the year. And no, it's not a basketball or hockey team. It's the Gonzaga University ROTC Bulldog Battalion.

When classes are over, GU's ROTC Bulldog Battalion is just getting started.

"We make them faster stronger smarter. We prepare them for challenges that lie ahead both in uniform and out of uniform," said GU Senior Military Science Instructor Alan Westfield.

It'll be the team's second training session of the day and their last before this weekends 'Ranger Challenge' at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"I think it's the best team I've been on since I've been here," said team captain Micah Rarick.

The Ranger Challenge is a regional competition, pitting the Bulldog Battalion against 30 other teams including teams from EWU and WSU. Their training will be put to the test.

"It's designed to be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging," said Westfield.

Most of the challenge hasn't been revealed, but it could include tasks such as making a rope bridge, navigation, shooting and leadership reaction courses. Team captain Micah Rarick already has a championship under his belt and knows this team has what it takes to win again.

"Everybody is smart everybody knows that they have their role to play, you know, nobody is going to do, you know, one person is not going to carry the team," said Rarick.

In 20 years the Bulldog Battalion has won 19 championships. Much like other sports teams their success attracts top cadets from across the country.

"I heard they had a really good program and I knew a cadet who went through it and just absolutely loved it and when I came to the school and visited it just seemed like also a great fit," said freshman cadet Rachel Howard.

Last year the Bulldog Battalion finished second in the Ranger Challenge, right behind the team from Hawaii. This year's winner will head to West Point for the Sanders Competition and a chance to compete against teams from Canada, Great Britain and China.

"The arch-rival, Navy Midshipmen, even send a team, they don't do very well normally," said Westfield.

While cadets are preparing for this weekend they know their biggest challenge is still to come. Each one of them will go into the Army upon graduation. Two former team members went on to give all for their country: Forrest Ewens in Afghanistan in 2006 and Matthew Fazzari in Afghanistan in 2012.

"And the folks know what lies ahead and they know that Matt and Forrest participated in these competitions and that's a little extra incentive to be at their best," said Westfield.

This weekend the cadets know it's all about team work and unlike other teams on the GU campus, win or lose everyone here goes pro.