ETSU cadets take top honors in Mountain Man March
With their campus a short march from Fort Watauga and its links to the Overmountain Men, it should be no surprise that a crew of East Tennessee University’s Army ROTC would capture an event called the Mountain Man Memorial March.
Buccaneer Army ROTC cadets earned top honors at the annual event, held recently in Gatlinburg.
The Buccaneer Battalion sent six teams of five members each, with teams covering the spectrum of cadets: one team was from the affiliate program at the University of Virginia at Wise, another was an all-female team and a third was made up of all freshmen.
In the competition, the cadets each carried a 35-pound pack over a 13.1-mile course that began on the streets of Gatlinburg and then entered the rough terrain of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The ETSU team didn’t just win. It won in record style, setting a course record of two hours and 28 minutes.
The winning team’s cadets were Jackson Scott, Alex Dayton, Joseph Kostelac, Zach Schuette and Joshua McDaniel. ETSU teams also placed third and eighth out of the 25 competing. The Wise, Va., affiliate team finished 12th, with the all-female team in 13th place.
The Mountain Man Memorial March was established in honor of Lt. Frank Walkup, who graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2005 and was killed in action two years later in Iraq.
Each team is partnered with a Gold Star Family. Before the race, families of fallen service members share pictures and descriptions of how their loved ones gave their lives; the sponsoring Gold Star Family members then greet “their” teams at the finish line.
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