Shippensburg University’s Army ROTC program sent its Ranger Challenge team to the Cadet Command’s Second Brigade competition on Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday Nov. 10. With an extremely successful performance, the Ranger Challenge team placed seventh against the 42 teams that span the Northeast region with schools from Maine to Pennsylvania.
Competing in events that test technical competencies, teamwork and mental agility, the nine-man Ranger Challenge team trained rigorously to create a bond that would stand strong under the pressures of the competition. As the “varsity sport” of ROTC, the Ranger Challenge team was pushed to be able to move farther, faster and fight harder to complete its mission.
The team and competition proudly carry the “Ranger” title, which holds high prestige among the armed forces both nationally and globally. The Army Rangers are a historic and honored group of elite soldiers that have played key roles in the armed conflicts of the United States.
They are held to a higher standard among their peers and are called upon to carry out the most challenging tasks.
Capt. Nicholas Furloni coached the team this year. Furloni is a first-year instructor with the Shippensburg ROTC faculty. As a previous member of a Ranger Challenge team and having successfully completed Army Ranger School, Furloni was able to coach a team that pushed itself to a higher level and showed capability for leadership in the future.
“The Ranger Challenge Competition provides a good stepping stone for individuals who will be successful at pushing themselves to become the best among their peers as Army officers,” Furloni said about the team.
“This team represents the elite members of an already elite organization,” he said.
Despite being new to SU, the team was able to compete against and be more successful than much larger organizations, which brought positive attention from the leadership at Cadet Command.
This success was reached with the guidance of Furloni and the fourth-year competition team member and team captain cadet Ian Lloyd.
The nine-member team consisted of: Lloyd, assistant captain cadet Evan Fishel, cadets Doug Hamburger, Tom Smith, Mitchel Hess, Billy Graham, Coby Sullivan, Casey Strunk and Xiomara Espinosa.
“Our team was able to come together and do something special this year,” said Fishel, who was picked to be the team captain for next year.
“We were able to show other schools of the brigade that Shippensburg has a program to be reckoned with and with three freshman on the team this year, we have a promising future for the coming years,” Fishel said.
The team memorized the Ranger Creed, a six-stanza ideology of the Army Rangers, which describes what it takes to be the best of the best.
The third stanza was picked by Furloni as the embodiment of the 2013 SU Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team: “Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, 100 percent and then some.”