The Omaha Public Schools/Creighton University Best Cadet Challenge

Submitted by LTC (R) Michael DeBolt

Sixteen teams consisting of six cadets each compete for the Omaha Public Schools/Creighton University Best Cadet Team Championship Trophy. Each team consists of 5 team members with one alternate. These extraordinary young cadets have trained for this best of the best competition since last spring and to face these physical and mental challenges.

They were eager to demonstrate their excellence in a wide range of activities in the arenas of team leadership, motivation, personal fitness, and character. During the 4-hour competition, cadets compete in 5 physical challenges and to test their memorization skills in the Conway challenge.  The challenge requires them to compete as a team, demonstrate the highest levels of cooperation and teamwork in completing each challenge, and above all, cheer each other on in the spirit of the Army values.

To achieve its mission and vision, the Omaha Public Schools/Creighton Best Cadet Competition program pursues the following goals.  First: Promote excellence in team-level cadet led events. Second: Promote individual excellence and learning in leadership, fitness, and character and finally: Showcase today’s cadets as tomorrow’s leaders.

As the rain fell on the cool September day, Cadet Daniel Ralls, a senior a Creighton University was busy making sure all the activities were running smoothly and the competition lanes had all the equipment. The decision was made not to conduct the written Land Navigation exam due the falling rain. His team had been on site since 6 am preparing for the arrival of cadets from Lincoln and Omaha JROTC high school programs.  His preparation and coordination had paid off as a sigh of relief was heard as the busses and vans pulled in.

Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hayes oversaw the safety briefing and check in. Rucks were weighed in; and accountability and checklists were gone over. After a brief description of the rules, demonstrations given, questions answered, it was now it was time for lane assignments. Schools filled their canteens and water bottles one more time and scurried off. The horn blasted through the falling mist to signal the start of grueling competition to see which team had prepared the best.

The cadets participated in the following events:

  • 2 minutes Equipment Carry – assorted objects weighing 45lbs  
  • 45lb Team Sled Drag on designated course for 2 minutes
  • High Crawl 30-meter lane for 2 minutes
  • Hand Release Push-up 2 minutes
  • 4.2-mile Ruck weighing 20lbs
  • Conway Memorization Challenge Test

After collecting the scores, it was time to recognize the winners with trophies and individual medals. The top five teams were Boys Town, South, Northwest, North and Central.

However, the ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give. – Howard Cosell.