University of Vermont

Catamounts Seek Repeat Success at Levy Challenge

       Every year, the Norwich University chapter of the Semper Fidelis Men’s Honor Society hosts the Walter N. Levy Challenge, or simply the Levy Challenge, at their campus in Northfield, VT. Formerly called the Recon Challenge, the event was renamed in honor of Colonel Walter M. Levy, USMC. It is an all day team endurance race consisting of a half marathon while carrying a ruck sack, a team physical fitness test of 200 pull-ups and 800 sit-ups, ad 1650m team swim, a 1.5 mile litter carry, and a combat endurance course. Competitors must complete each event with the rest of their 4-person team, staying together the whole time. Scoring is completely based off time; the clock starts when you cross the start line and doesn’t stop until all 4 teammates cross the finish line of the ruck run.  Cohesive teamwork, elite physical fitness, and unbreakable mental strength are vital to success at the Levy Challenge.

      Last year, for the first time ever, the University of Vermont’s Green Mountain Battalion sent a team to compete in the 2010 Levy Challenge. The team was made up of Cadets Brian Hamel, Ryan Finnerty, Christian Ruf, and was led by Cadet Bradley Patnaude. After months of preparation and rigorous physical training, which included thousands of pull-ups, dozens of miles carrying a ruck sack, and countless hours in the pool, the Green Mountain Battalion’s first foray into the Levy Challenge was an overwhelming success. The four UVM Cadets took the competition by storm, finishing with a time of 4 hours and 57 minutes and securing second place out of 44 teams.

      In the wake of last year’s success, the number of Green Mountain Battalion Cadets preparing for the 2011 Levy Challenge has increased dramatically. Thanks to generous support from the Green Mountain Battalion’s Alumni Association, there will now be 3 teams from UVM competing in the Levy Challenge as well as one team from the Battalion’s largest satellite, State University of New York-Plattsburgh. Especially noteworthy is that one of the teams is made up entirely of first year female cadets from the Green Mountain Battalion. Cadets Kayla Hensel, Lindsey Moore, and Leigh McNeil, all of UVM, and Cadet Cynthia Edgerton of St. Michael’s College have taken up the challenge of representing not just the Green Mountain Battalion, but female cadets everywhere, with enthusiasm and dedication. In total, 20 Cadets have been hard at work for several months already, under the leadership of returning competitors, Cadets Bradley Patnaude and Ryan Finnerty. Those training for the Levy Challenge regularly conduct physical training 5-6 days per week, in addition to the their normal ROTC obligations and university coursework. Cadets from the Green Mountain Battalion training for the Levy Challenge come from every class, both male and female. They include: Cadets John Hart, Ryan O’Leary, Leigh McNeil, Lindsey Moore, Kayla Hensel, Cynthia Edgerton, Mauricio Diaz, Erickson Krogh, Justin Adams, Robert Matzelle, Tyler Parker, Justin Strohsnitter, Matthew Demenna, Daniel Nesel, Ryan Finnerty, Warner Clark, and Bradley Patnaude. With such a robust turnout and high level of motivation, the Catamounts of the Green Mountain Battalion are poised for a repeat performance of last year’s success.