As soon as the second-place team was announced, USMA Black knew they had won.
Score updates throughout the two-days of the 51st Sandhurst Military Skills Competition had kept them on edge as they bounced in an out of first place. Sometimes, they'd hear they were atop the leaderboard. Other times, their Family and friends who had gathered to cheer them on would spur them ahead with the news they had fallen into second or even third place.
But following two days, more than 27-miles of rigorous rucking and 13 obstacles - including physical fitness, marksmanship and land navigation challenges - USMA Black stood above the competition.
"We were in a lot of anticipation this year because this was the first year where throughout the day, almost on the hour, they would post updated rankings," Class of 2020 Cadet Kevin Shinnick, USMA Black squad leader, said. "We all trusted each other, we trusted that we could win and that's exactly what we did."
The win by USMA Black marked only the third win by a U.S. Military Academy team since 1993 when Sandhurst expanded to include ROTC and service academy teams from throughout the country and competitors from international military academies. USMA Company B3 broke through in 2011, but USMA Black now stands above as they add this year's victory to the title they claimed in 2017.
Three members returned from the 2017 team to compete this year making them the first West Point cadets to win two Sandhurst titles since the expansion. Read more.