Pushing the limits: Marines compete in HITT Tactical Athlete Championship

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Story by PFC Liah Kitchen on 08/18/2016
The Marine Corps' High Intensity Tactical Training program held its 2nd Annual Tactical Athlete Championship aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, August 15 through 18.

The four-day competition featured male and female Marines from around the Corps who competed in various fitness events designed to test their physical and mental strength.

"This to me is what tactical athleticism is," said Ryan Massimo the HITT program manager. "We combine tactical skills with athleticism and we get the total tactical athlete."

Competitors tested their endurance and strength through a series of events: a 500-yard power shuttle, a 500-yard battle skills challenge, an amphibious tactical challenge, a maneuver under fire tactical course and the tactical fitness challenge.

Participants qualified to compete by going through a preliminary competition at their installation's HITT centers.

"It's interesting to see different Marines from different installations coming out to do something they're passionate about," said Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Butler, a competitor and a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Papa Company. "It's a positive environment for friendly competition, we're having a lot of fun but at the same time we're competing with one another."

The Marines in the competition could be heard motivating each other during the different events, said Butler.

"What I love about [this competition] is the comradery that it builds," said Massimo. "They're competing against other Marines, but they're also helping each other out."

The competitors were awarded points based on each timed event. The goal at the end of the competition was to have the least amount of points.

A male and female winner was announced at an awards ceremony, Aug. 18. The male winner was Cpl. Ethan Mawhinney, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force planner, stationed at Camp Allen, Virginia, and the female winner was Sgt. Calie Jacobsen, a nondestructive inspection technician, stationed at MCAS Miramar.

According to Mawhinney, winning the competition is a surreal experience that he looks forward to training hard for next year.

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