Washington, D.C. --
It was a competitive and exciting nine months at Marine Barracks Washington for the competitors of the 2011 Commander’s Cup.
Running, tossing, pushing and even crawling at times, the competition proved challenging to its participants. The cup came to an end with a competition fit for warriors, the Ammo-can Decathlon, Nov. 16.
The strength and stamina challenge was modeled after the combat fitness test, which is used to test Marines’ physical capabilities. Three events consisting of ammo-can lifts, an 880-yard run and 80-yard maneuver course with a casualty evacuation were timed and counted for a final score.
"It was definitely a challenge," said Pfc. Marco Briceno, Company A marcher. "The CFT is one thing, but maxing out and then pushing beyond that was really hard."
The Barracks’ 2011 Commander’s Cup was composed of 14 competitions from mid-March to mid-November, ranging from obstacle courses to kayaking. The competition challenged the Marines’ military knowledge, marksmanship, competitiveness and physical and mental discipline. Marines were awarded points for their performance in each event.
The decathlon was a bittersweet end to what has been the Barracks’ showmanship of strength, endurance and will. Among the events, a few in particular wedged in the minds of the competitors and attendees throughout the series.
The Cliffhanger -- The opening competition of the cup tested the Marines ability to boulder up a rock wall without support. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing in which the climber isn’t harnessed in by a rope when he climbs. During the competition, climbers followed a color-coded route on the face of the wall that was determined by the difficulty of the climb.
Rambo -- Running, shooting and traversing a quarter-mile course was the mission of the day for the competitors of this event. After a two-mile run, Marines shot a pistol to hit an assigned target before they could move on to an obstacle course and back again to ace another target to complete the timed challenge.
Whitewater Wipeout -- Marines participated in the kayaking challenge in which they had to maneuver through 10 gates while kayaking down a winding, treacherous river. They were given a small inflatable kayak, a paddle and a brief 20-minute crash course on how to safely traverse the course.
Tough Mudder -- In this event, competitors tackled 27 obstacles spread across more than 10 miles of mountainous Virginia woodlands. The course’s many obstacles included a log carry, barbed wire crawl, running up a quarter-pipe and advancing through hundreds of dangling, exposed live wires. Several other obstacles involved frigid water, adding wind chill to the event’s many challenges.
Other notable events were the Angry Aardvark, Raging Rhino, Musclefest, and the Marine Corps Marathon.
The cup’s overall point leaders were Capt. Nicholas Schroback, male and overall top finisher, and Capt. Lorelei Gaus, female top finisher. Schroback won 7 out of 14 events, totaling 860 points. Gaus participated in 9 out of 14 events, totaling 615 points.
"The competition did an excellent job of showcasing all of the great activities available in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area," said Gaus. "I greatly enjoyed competing in the events and I am looking forward to seeing what new events will be available."
The top finishers were each to be rewarded an Apple iPad, but in the spirit of competition the top commisioned finishers surrendered their prizes to the two top enlisted finishers during an awards ceremony at the Barracks. Lance Cpl. Felipe Ramirez, top enlisted finisher and Company B marcher, and Sgt. Kevin McAllister, second place enlisted finisher and Drum and Bugle Corps bugler, were presented the prizes by Col. Paul D. Montanus, the Barracks commanding officer, Nov. 28.
"We’re going to bring back some of the events that challenge the Marines’ abilities like Whitewater Wipeout, Musclefest and some others," said Montanus. "Everyone did a really good job and it was beyond my wildest expectation."
To close the ceremony, Montanus presented the last prize, the trophy, to Capt. James Hagerty, Co. A commander. Co. A finished with a total of 5,903 points to beat out Co. B, which finished with 5,789 points, and Headquarters and Service Company which finished with 3,750 points.
"The Marines in Co. A are really athletic and highly motivated, which is why their great performance throughout the competition didn’t surprise me," said Hagerty. "This cup is the result of the collective hard work of the Marines. I’m really proud of them and what they have achieved."