Angel Ortiz, a junior criminal justice major from Wilmington, Delaware, agreed.
“Terrain was definitely the most challenging thing,” he said. “We
kind of knew what it would be like, but we didn’t really know because
out of our whole team only two people have ever been to West Point
Micah Petersen, a junior from Houston, Texas, with majors in
international relations and Chinese studies was very aware that it was
teamwork and not individual physical size that helped the team succeed.
“The last event was a Howitzer pull – we had to pull it 400 meters.
And I thought here’s our team that is probably the smallest team
competing,” Petersen said. “But no one had to turn the other person and
drag them along – everyone knew they had to do it for the person on the
left and their right.”
To facilitate communication, the squad of cadets was divided into two
teams, Alpha and Bravo, with Dinerman selecting a leader for each.
Petersen led the Bravo Team and Ortiz led the Alphas.
Team leaders chose which cadets would participate in individual
events, choices which led to a first place finish in the grenade
competition and an 11th place finish in physical fitness. It was that
trust in both leadership and teamwork that made the cadets confident
they would place well, regardless of their limitations in size and
“We knew that it’s not about the look of the team; it’s about how
well the team operates as a cohesive unit. You find success using the
people around you to the best of their ability,” Dinerman said. “I
walked in knowing that without a doubt our strengths were that we would
outthink – use our brains – on that course.”
Lindsey Baryluk, a sophomore international relations major from
Franklin, Massachusetts, said that the best thing about the experience
was seeing how the team worked together.
“You really saw unit cohesion,” she said. “Everyone has strong and weak points but we worked together to enhance our strengths.”