CHS wins Raider Challenge: Host team sweeps 1st in all events

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette A team from St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota starts the Ahkio Sled Race during Arctic Raiders Challenge on Saturday at the United States National Guard Readiness Center in Calumet Township. The sled pull was one of three events in which teams participated.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — For years, the Calumet High School Junior ROTC members traveled around the Midwest to various United States Army Cadet Raider programs, but four years ago, Maj. Michael Farley decided hosting such an event in the winter would be a good idea, so he created the Arctic Raiders Challenge.

Farley, who directs the CHS JROTC program, was overseeing the fourth annual event Saturday at the U.S. Army National Guard Readiness Center in Calumet Township. Taking part were seven teams from four schools: Calumet High School, Hancock High School, St. John’s Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, and St. Thomas Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Farley said each team participates in three events: 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.

The other Raider Challenge events take place in the spring. Farley said he thought having a Raider event in the winter would help teams get ready for spring events, and the Upper Peninsula has unique landscapes and snow features, which could be part of the events.

“It’s all based on snowshoeing, sledding and biathlon,” he said.

Since the CHS JROTC members do outdoor activities as part of their class work, Farley said they’re ready to take on the events of the Arctic Raiders Challenge.

“They’re in very good shape,” he said.

Each team is made up of eight members, Farley said, but only six can compete in a particular event. That way, a member who is better at one event than the others can sit out the events at which he or she is not so good.

“This gives the kids the opportunity to exercise some judgment,” he said.

On each team, there is a leader, Farley said.

The competitors on the Wisconsin team had little if any snow this winter to practice in, Farley said, so the events may have been a greater challenge for them.

Farley said the goals of the Arctic Raiders are teaching leadership, promoting physical fitness, encouraging a love of the outdoors and outdoor sports and building team work.

He would like the Arctic Raiders Challenge to expand, Farley said, and he has to have up to 18 teams take part.

The results of the events were Calumet High School winning first place, St. John’s Academy second place and Hancock High School third place.

Calumet High School had a clean sweep, taking first place in every event: Snowshoe Biathlon, Ahkio Sled Race, Cross-Country Rescue and Relay Race.