Students walking along State Street or taking a morning run on Lakeshore Path may have been passed by teams of students carrying heavy logs Saturday, as the University of Wisconsin hosted the annual Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Fall Invitational this weekend.
NROTC squads from around the country competed in various athletic and endurance events around Madison this weekend, including an Urban Adventure Course, a 13-mile campus-wide course and a variety of sailing regatta and pistol competitions, NROTC spokesperson Sara Dillon said.
UW’s NROTC program took first place overall at the annual Fall Invitational with the highest number of combined points at 837.5, more than 200 points over second place finisher Ohio State.
Dillon said the competition was intended to highlight the skills and physical stamina of the Naval ROTC program adding that it helps elevate the visibility and awareness of UW’s NROTC program beyond a brochure or a website.
Although noting that the UW community embraces the membership of its students who participate in ROTC, Dillon said this invitational is another opportunity to educate people on the benefits of the military service programs.
“The NROTC program is a major time commitment and responsibility and the Fall Invitational is a great opportunity to showcase all the hard work that these students put into the program,” Dillon said.
According to Dillon, the event is also an example of the fitness rigor necessary to participate in the university’s ROTC program. The NROTC program is highly selective, and requires students to maintain a solid academic standing and also pass a physical examination every semester, Dillon said.
The invitations had one female-only team from Marquette University which featured members Grace Thorsted, Emma Thompson, Nancy Martinez and Linnea Leonard. The team said they were excited about their accomplishment, success and their competitiveness alongside the mens’ teams.
“Finishing the competition as the only female team was awesome,” Thompson said. “We felt so accomplished by completing it together.”
Thorsted added she was inspired by the community, adding that everyone was cheering for them whether they were a spectator or another competitor.
Participants of the event spoke of the camaraderie and bonding with others around a common objective: playing a role in the Navy to serve the nation. Another student said seeing people from different schools helped her realize she was involved in something bigger than just UW.
One member of the UW NROTC program spoke about the transformation he experienced through the maturity and leadership instilled from his time in the program.
UW placed second in color guard, the Urban Adventure Course and rifle competition, second and fourth in platoon drill, third in the sailing regatta, fourth in the pistol competition and fourth and fifth place in squad drill.
Despite the events success, however, Dillon said the government shutdown restricted the participation of several schools because of their reliance on government funding. The UW NROTC program is one of approximately 70 programs supported through universities around the country, Dillon said.