A dirty dozen Marines pushed themselves mentally and physically in an effort to earn their spot in the next stage of the High Intensity Tactical Training 2017 Tactical Athlete Competition at the preliminary competition held at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Friday.
The New River event wrapped up the area competitions, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune hosting their version of the challenge June 9.
According to Raymond Anderson, former HITT program coordinator at MCAS New River, this year’s New River Tatical Athlete Competition was the third of its kind, with a growing field of competitors each year.
“I believe that it gives the Marines a platform as to what we do as the HITT Program,” said Anderson. “The competition is physically and mentally challenging, so this event will let you know where you stand.”
Each of the 13 Marine athletes competed in three events comprised of a total of just over a dozen individual drills.
The first event was the HITT Combine. The six drills included shuttle sprints ranging from 25 to 300 yards, agility drills and a medicine ball throw for distance.
The second event was a 400 yard tactical shuttle. The shuttle begins with a 25-yard sprint and included carrying, squatting, and lunging with a sandbag and kettlebells for a total distance of 400 yards.
The final event was the strength challenge. The challenge is comprised of kettlebell deadlifts, TRX inverted rows and TRX atomic push-ups for a total of three minutes.
According to Anderson, he and Catherine Wallace, the new HITT program coordinator at New River, are members of the HITT Advisory Committee, which means they are actively involved in the Tactical Athlete Competition preliminary process as well as the championships.
Each of the drills challenged athletes in several of the main components taught daily at HITT programs, said Anderson, including movement prep; speed, agility and endurance; strength and power; and mobility and flexibility.
Lance Cpl. Reggie Parker enjoyed competing against his fellow squadron members outside of work.
According to Parker, he was originally going to pass on this year’s competition so he could train and be prepared but decided to give it a try this year anyway.
“It would be completely surreal if I won,” said Parker. “In order to be able to represent this base, my squadron; it would be amazing.”
With eyes set on a trip to the championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 28 through 31 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Cpl. Seungchul Roh with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 62, said he also wasn’t sure he even wanted to compete at first.
“I heard about it and thought it would be a fun and motivating thing for Marines,” said Roh.
Roh had stiff competition thanks to fellow Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 Marine Lance Cpl. Brad Campbell.
“I came out here to try to give it 110 percent and motivate others to do the same,” said Campbell. “A lot of people would shy away from something like this, but I’m here because this is nothing for someone from the air wing.”
Despite Campbell’s over the top effort, Staff Sgt. Ryan Nikzad and Lance Cpl. Michelle Smith came out on top for the New River HITT Center. Camp Lejeune winners Lance Cpl. Elijah Green and Gunnery Sgt. Octaya Jones will join Nikzad and Smith at the TAC Championship.