‘I want to push myself’: Competitors say Challenge tests their abilities

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette The host team retained the Arctic Raider Challenge trophy on Saturday.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — Ethan Newman was attending his second Arctic Raiders Challenge Saturday because he enjoyed it so much when he participated last year.

A 10th-grader at Calumet High School, Newman said he doesn’t have to take part in the event, but he wanted to do it again.

“It was fun,” he said of his experience last year.

Teams participate in three events: the Ahkio sled race, which involves dragging a sled weighted down with a 50-pound sand bag; cross-country rescue of a team member acting injured; and the biathlon, which involves skiing and shooting.

Newman said besides the fun of the Challenge, he has another reason for taking part.

“(I want) to physically challenge myself, push myself to limits,” he said.

The course for the events was a little longer than last year, Newman said.

“They made the runs longer to avoid the swamps,” he said.

Newman said he intends to go into the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating high school.

Robert Zalenas of St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, said this was his first year taking part in the Challenge, and he was impressed with the Akhio Sled Race and the Cross-Country Rescue.

“They were challenging,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Zalenas said he enjoyed the competition.

“It kind of tests what our abilities are,” he said.

Zalenas said he has no plans to go into the military after high school, rather he intends to play college lacrosse on a scholarship.