MSOE students in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) are advancing to the 2019 West Point Sandhurst Military Skills Competition in April.

MSOE junior Jenna Harrington and sophomore Matthew Oldendorf were on the nine-member team that won first place in the Ranger Challenge Competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on Nov.2-3 and earned them entry into the multinational, joint service competition.

“We kept winning the events and I kept tallying them in my head. When they got to the overall winners they announced third and it wasn’t us,” Harrington said. “That’s when I realized we won! It was a moment of great excitement and pride.”

Harrington and Oldendorf belong to the Milwaukee ROTC Golden Eagle Battalion (GEB), which is based at Marquette University and made up of cadets from Marquette, MSOE and UW-Milwaukee. They are one of eight Army ROTC programs that will go on to participate in the Sandhurst Competition. There they will face teams from West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, England, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and many others. The last time the GEB sent a nine-person Ranger Challenge team to the Sandhurst competition was during the 2015-2016 season.

West Point educates, trains and inspires leaders of character to serve the nation and the Army. The Sandhurst Military Skills competition highlights military excellence and attracts teams from across the globe to test physical fitness, military proficiency and leadership. During the event, each squad is required to perform a series of military tasks along a designated route. Scores are determined by combining the points they earn by performing each military task along the route.

“I’m pretty nervous for the upcoming competition,” Harrington said. “We’re going to go up against some very skilled people. But I know our team captain will get us prepared for what’s to come. Now it’s just time to put in the work and then perform when competition week comes.”

Harrington, who is from Madison and completing a degree in biomedical engineering, earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology with a pre-med emphasis from UW-Green Bay before coming to MSOE and joining the ROTC program. Oldendorf is from Buffalo City, Wisconsin, and working on his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

At the Ranger Challenge in Missouri, the team came in first place over 42 senior collegiate Army ROTC programs and more than 100 major colleges and universities in the Midwest. Additionally, the Golden Eagle Battalion’s five-member cadet team won third place in its category.

Learn more about ROTC at MSOE.