For political science freshman Garett Woxland, Midshipman 4th class, all the hard work was finally about to pay off. As he stood in formation listening to the winners being called off, he heard “and in second place for squad drill, Iowa State University!” All the early mornings and long nights practicing for this weekend became worth it, as the Cyclone Battalion drill team took home several trophies in the annual University of Wisconsin-Madison Drill Meet.
NROTC units from ten schools around the Midwest traveled to Madison to represent their universities in drill, rifle and pistol shooting, and an endurance race. The Cyclone Battalion placed second in platoon and squad drill, and third in color guard, and fourth place in both pistol and rifle competition for a cumulative score that garnered a third place overall finish in the drill meet.
After a rifle and pistol shooting competition Friday morning, the midshipmen mingled with their counterparts from UW-Madison and prepared for the big day ahead. On Saturday morning, they put on their khakis and marched into the football practice facility for the drill competition.
“This was what we’ve been practicing for, so it was awesome to see it all come together,” Midshipman 2nd class Dillon Hansen, a junior in interdisciplinary studies, said. Hansen led the platoon drill team, where they demonstrated their movements, bearing, teamwork, and a host of other skills to the evaluating Marines. “I was very satisfied with the performance of everyone, and taking third overall was very welcome.”
Gunnery Sergeant Harrison, Assistant Marine Officer Instructor for Iowa State, had this to say after the midshipmen claimed their trophies: “This justifies all the hard work that we’ve been putting in night and day for the past few weeks. I’m proud of the effort all of you put into this.”
Although they didn’t place, the Cyclone Battalion also fielded a team in the Urban Adventure Race, an endurance race consisting of a ten-mile run through the city of Madison with stops for extra workouts, and some of the distance with extra weight. “When the going got tough, I noticed that we came together even more as a team to help each other through it,” said Midshipman 3rd class Patrick Hennessey, a sophomore in mechanical engineering.
Captain Murdock, Commanding Officer of UW-Madison’s NROTC unit, also emphasized teamwork in his closing remarks. “This is a serious competition, and I like seeing how competitive you all get,” he said. “But don’t forget that in the end we all are on the same team. In just a few years we’ll be seeing each other again in the fleet, so it’s important to foster these relationships now. That’s what this weekend is really all about.”