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Army Goes for Gold Rush in Warrior Games Field Competition

WEST POINT, N.Y., June 19, 2016 — Intermittent drizzle along the Hudson Valley was no match for determined athletes who gathered to test their mettle and earn medals during the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games field competition at the U.S. Military Academy here June 16.

The Army made its mark with its veteran athletes -- Sgt. Ryan Major, Staff Sgt. Matthew Mihacsi, Staff Sgt. Gregory Quarles and Spc. Dustin Barr -- earning gold medals in the men’s seated shot put in their categories.

Royal Navy veteran Alastair Pingram -- seated shot put gold medalist in his category, who also earned gold in his men’s seated discus throw category -- said he was thrilled to participate in this year’s competition.

“I’ve been training hard, so I’m very pleased that I have won,” he said. “But it’s all about the camaraderie and the team ethics – it’s been great.”

Snagging gold medals in his men’s standing shot put and standing discus throw Standing categories, Army veteran Spc. Heywood Range III said he worked hard for the victories, but noted an injury during the 800-meter dash in track slightly hampered his performance in field.

Advice for Future Hopefuls

“We trained to come out here and compete and win,” Range said, adding, a word of advice to future competition hopefuls. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something because of injury or illness. Hold yourself to a higher standard.”

Female Army veteran athletes also represented well, with Spc. Sidney Davis and Sgt. Monica Southall earning gold in their women’s standing shot put categories.

Marine Corps veteran Lance Cpl. Sarah Rudder earned gold in her women’s standing discus throw category. Though she trains year-round, she said, she seldom knows how she’ll perform before a competition.

“For me,” she explained, “:it’s really not about the medals. It’s about just being inspired by others and me inspiring others as well.”

Field events include seated shot put, standing shot put, seated discus and standing discus, with varying weights of each for men and women, in addition to seated and standing variations. Athletes compete in different classification categories based on functional abilities, including impaired muscle power or range of movement, limb deficiency and visual impairment.

The adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans features some 250 athletes representing Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, U.S. Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom armed forces, highlighting the resilience and warrior spirit of service members, veterans and their families and caregivers. About 160 athletes participated in one or more track and field events.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDoDNews)
Distribution channels: Military