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Army ROTC News

Virginia Tech Army ROTC congratulates the 97 second lieutenants who commissioned during this academic year and are starting their Army careers.

The Army ROTC team members at the starting line of the 2019 Army Ten Miler.
The Army ROTC team members at the starting line of the 2019 Army Ten Miler.

Army Ten Miler Team

By Dylan Kannapell ’21

Every October, the Army Ten Miler stops traffic in Washington, D.C. The race is the Army’s biggest athletic event, drawing 35,000 runners from around the world. The race sells out every year and attracts teams and individual runners from across the Army to compete. I’ve run in the race since I joined Army ROTC as a freshman, and I’ve been proud to lead the team the past two years.

The 2019 season was a challenging one for the team. We had to fend for ourselves financially. We hustled to find sponsors to cover our race fees and jerseys and to figure out lodging and transportation support for our runners. We made it happen with help from the Virginia Tech Running Club, RunAbout Sports, and numerous cadet families from the D.C. area. We were additionally challenged by the Army Field Training Exercise that was held the same weekend. After spending all day Friday training in the field and sleeping in the woods Friday night, we woke Saturday morning, met up, and traveled to D.C.

Our team ran well, cutting 22 minutes off our previous years’ time, finishing sixth and 18th out of 103 ROTC teams, with Cadet Michel Becker ’19 finishing in only 57 minutes! We are ready to push our team’s legacy into the future and are already preparing for 2020’s race!

Cadet Ryan Kros ’22, at left, fist bumps a teammate after a match.
Cadet Ryan Kros ’22, at left, fist bumps a teammate after a match. Photo courtesy of Dave Knachel, Virginia Tech Athletics.

Balancing ACC Tennis and ROTC

By Ryan Kros ’22

For the past three years, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Army ROTC program and a member of the varsity tennis team at Virginia Tech. I chose to come to Virginia Tech because of the people, the environment, and the chance to compete in tennis in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After three years of tennis seasons, Army training, and busy semester schedules, I have absolutely no regrets.

A typical day for me starts with ROTC physical training and goes straight to my tennis workouts. I then have a few hours to attend classes before I have to return for team workouts. After that, I can recover and focus on my academics.

The spring semester is always the toughest because we are in-season. We play about 25 games a season, so we compete several times each weekend. Being on the road all over the country so often can be difficult, but my professors and ROTC cadre have been very understanding and supportive. I’ve learned how to manage my time efficiently while still prioritizing academics.

Being a member of ROTC and varsity tennis has been a great experience that continues to aid in my development as a student, athlete, and leader.

Members of the Maritime Assessment Course class carry their instructor to their boat on American Lake.
Members of the Maritime Assessment Course class carry their instructor to their boat on American Lake.

Maritime Assessment Course

In December 2019, Cadets Alex Yerina ’21, Miles Keane ’21, and Grant Brown ’23 attended the Maritime Assessment Course (MAC) at Joint-Base Lewis McChord, Washington, with the 1st Special Forces Group. MAC is two weeks of daily intense physical fitness followed by four-hour pool sessions focusing on water confidence events. Then we were taken to American Lake for our open water swims. Our instructors would transport us across the lake in an inflatable boat and say, “Swim back. Time starts now.” Wearing wetsuits, we would enter the 45-degree water and conduct up to 3-kilometer swims.

“The most challenging part for me was learning to deal with the stress and anxiety of each day. I was confident in my ability to succeed, but the stress never went away,” said Yerina. “It was my best training experience as a cadet, and would recommend any cadet attend.”