Ranger Challenge



Gonzaga University's Black Team from the Bulldog Battalion, the Army ROTC unit for Whitworth and Gonzaga universities, defended its Task Force Big Sky Ranger Challenge Championship title this past weekend in Montana.

This year, the annual competition among Northwest ROTC units was held Oct. 16 in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest, north of Missoula.  Several cadets, cadre, and friends supported Bulldog Battalion members as they competed against ROTC students from the University of Montana, Montana State University, Boise State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Idaho State University.

Coached by CPT Danny Harris and led by Cadets Scotty Oplinger, Tommy Wiebold, and Jenna Peterson, the Bulldog Battalion teams flourished. The competition consisted of a 10 kilometer foot march, in full equipment,  with a variety of events spread out across the course.  These events included a HMMWV push, an hour of practical land navigation, a written land navigation test, the construction of a one rope bridge, a physical fitness test consisting of pushups, sit ups, and a one mile run in full gear, amongst other events. Gonzaga's Black Team finished the course in 4 hours and 9 minutes, with the second place team, University of Montana, finishing in 5 hours and 34 minutes.

Gonzaga's Gold Team, led by Cadet Alex Hedine, fought through injuries and inexperience to capture a third place finish with a time of 5 hours and 41 minutes in the eight team contest.

The two competing teams from Gonzaga have spent many mornings, afternoons, and weekend hours preparing for this competition.

Preparation for the event began at the beginning of the school year and culminated with the competition this last weekend.  Most cadets compete on a volunteer basis.

Both teams wore unit patches from past alumni and supporters during the competition, symbolizing the connection between the troops in the field and those who will soon join them after a commissioning.

"These future officers never cease to amaze me." CPT Danny Harris said. "Their hard work, positive attitudes and dedication to each other exemplifies everything we look for in Gonzaga and Whitworth ROTC cadets."

Black Team


Gold Team


10 Km Ruckmarch




One Rope Bridge


First Aid


Modified Army Physical Fitness Test