Olivia Donia | Staff Writer
Saturday, Oct. 13, was windy but not unpleasant as a group of 20 to 30 students dressed in neon green T-shirts labeled “staff” arranged an array of orange cones on McCloskey Field outside Des Places.
The Sgt. Ryan Lane Platoon held the Combat Fitness Challenge on Saturday that tested students in an abridged Marine Combat Fitness test to raise money and awareness for the group’s student veteran scholarship.
The Sgt. Ryan Lane Platoon is an organization on campus created in honor of Sgt. Ryan Lane, a Pittsburgh native and U.S. Marine with ties to Duquesne, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. The group’s most prominent event is Run for Ryan, now in its tenth year, takes place on campus every spring. But Saturday’s event was the newer Combat Fitness Challenge, a competition started by the Platoon last year.
The premise of the Combat Fitness Challenge was simple: students formed teams of four or five and competed in an abridged version of the Marine Combat Fitness Test. The challenge included an 800 meter run around the track, 200 ammo can presses and a relay of sorts comprised of sprints, a maneuver under fire and a sandbag carry. The challenge was not only to see if teams could complete the course, but to compete against teams of the event staff, almost all of whom were involved in either the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) or the military in some way.
The real goal of the day was not to win, but to support the organization and the cause for which they work.
According to Jonathan Miller, president of the Sgt. Ryan Lane Platoon, the goal of the event was to raise money and awareness for both the Run for Ryan on April 7 and the scholarship the group manages. The scholarship, Miller said, supports student veterans from all branches of service and is awarded to a different student every year.
While this may not have been the main event the Sgt. Ryan Lane Platoon runs, it was clear that both the staff and participants shared a common sense of dedication and commitment. A winning team was named, but it was clear that winning wasn’t really the goal here; the event was more of a test of skill, and, most importantly, a way to support the cause. Even after the challenge ended, participants and staff alike remained, tossing around a football or a frisbee. The event was, ultimately, a successful way for the group to raise money for their student veteran scholarship.