The team of 2nd Lt. Michael Rose and 2nd Lt. John Bergman won the 31st annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition Sunday at Fort Benning.
The team from the 25th Infantry Division was in second place heading into the final day of events.
According to officials with the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, the team clinched the top spot after a strong showing overnight and through the final day of events which included the Darby Queen obstacle course, a spot jump and final buddy run.
The National Guard team of Capt. Robert Killian and 1st Lt. Nicholas Plocar, which led after the first and second day, finished second overall despite winning the final event, the buddy run.Rose and Bergman was the sixth team to cross the finish line in that event.
Never miss a local story.
Finishing third was the 75th Ranger Regiment team of Staff Sgt. Christopher Broussard and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Cogle.
The teams were not made available for media interviews.
Of the original 50 teams to begin the competition, only 26 made it to the final day. Supporters cheered as the teams closed out the event.
Coming from Wisconsin to spend part of the week here and support Plocar was his grandmother Edith Plocar and several family members.
She said her grandson had competed twice before and done well but this is the first time she has traveled to see him compete.
“My time here has been fantastic and it has been a thrill to see him and his partner do so well. I know he felt this might be his year,” she said.
She called her grandson “gung ho” and said nobody works harder than he does to succeed.
“No matter what sport he has competed in, he has always been good,” she said.
Asked what it felt like to see him and his partner cross the finish line first in the buddy run Sunday was “unbelievably exciting.”
Maj. Kevin Gitkos came to Fort Benning to cheer for Killian.
“We served together at Fort Polk back in 2004,” Gitkos said. “We still talk a lot, still keep in touch.”
Gitkos said he is now stationed at Fort Stewart near Savannah, Ga.
Being this close there was no way I was going to miss this,” he said.
He said seeing his pal cross the line first in the buddy run was “amazing.”
“Seeing what he has done here is a great feeling,” Gitkos said.
Before the competition began, Killian said, that staying away from tiny mistakes was the key to victory.
He also said was important to get off to a good start which the team did, leading from day one but Rose and Bergman had the strong finish.
The teams will be honored at an awards ceremony Monday morning.