The University of Tennessee Ranger Alpha team took home first place overall

at the third brigade, second region Ranger Challenge Competition Oct. 22-25

at Fort Knox, Ky.

UT was one of only two schools that fielded two ranger teams, with Ohio

University being the other. UT's Bravo team came in at 21st overall, under

the direction of team captain Cadet Capt. Steven Capehart. The Alpha team

captain was Cadet Jim Hoffman.

Each team consists of nine members, all of whom have specific jobs within

the unit. Members must work together in order to achieve success and

complete the mission of the team. For this reason, the team is only as

strong as its weakest member.

This year, Alpha team's weakest was strong enough to march away with a

first place trophy.

After a long van ride to Fort Knox, the Rangers hydrated themselves to

prepare for the Army Physical Fitness Test the next morning, and then went

to bed at 11:30 p.m. During the night, each team member was responsible for

a 30-minute "fire guard" watch.

The APFT began at 6 a.m., with each Ranger team competing in three events:

two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and the two-mile run.

Scoring is calculated on a 300-point scale, and the UT Alpha team earned an

average score of 287, which was fourth overall.

The Rangers competed in other events such as orienteering, rifle

marksmanship, patrolling and one rope bridge, finding success in each.

Alpha team was able to be consistently good enough in each event to find

themselves 27 points behind Middle Tennessee State going into the final

event--the 10K Road March.

Alpha team started in the third group, and was able to successfully conquer

the steep hills to finish more than three minutes ahead of MTSU. As they

crossed the finish line, the team broke into a chorus of "Rocky Top,"

knowing they had earned the victory.

The UT Ranger team is open to any full time student who is interested

regardless of whether he/she is involved in ROTC. Those interested must

have at least a 2.0 grade point average and be highly motivated. Contact

Capt. Gradzan at 1-800-UT-4ROTC.