Glynn Academy graduate Bliss Hutchings, now a freshman cadet at West Point, will compete this weekend in one of the most prestigious competitions at the military academy.
Hutchings was selected to be a member of her company team during the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition on today and tomorrow at the U.S. Military Academy. Sandhurst is a military skills competition that aims to inspire excellence through rigorous physical and mental challenges that reflect combat operations.
“The whole goal of it is to test teams on the military skills that we’ve been preparing for during our time here at West Point,” Hutchings said. “… From endurance to physical fitness as well as marksmanship skills, tactics.”
During basic training, called “Beast” at West Point, Hutchings said school leaders emphasized the importance of the competition. She chose to try out and earned a spot on her company’s team.
“From the beginning, I knew they were a super competitive team and they valued physical fitness and toughness of mind, and coming out of Beast that was something that I really wanted to achieve,” she said.
Hosted by West Point since 1967, the competition encompasses 49 teams representing 13 international military academies, 16 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs and four U.S. service academies that compete in a rigorous 27-mile course.
“The Sandhurst competition teaches cadets the mental and physical toughness, the relentlessness and the discipline that’s necessary to work as a team to accomplish the mission,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, U.S. Military Academy superintendent, in a press release.
“It also strengthens relationships with our allies and partners to foster multi- national cohesion and interoperability while showcasing the tenacity and grit of future military leaders from across the world.”
To prepare for the competition, Hutchings said her team has practiced nearly every day. Her team has done well in the competition in past years.
“It’s an honor for me to be on the team because it’s something I always tried to work toward, and I always try to be an asset to the team.”
The competition brings attention to the stellar education West Point offers, she said.
“It’s a big part of the leadership development here and showcasing all the military skills and exactly what West Point is trying to instill in all of the cadets here,” she said.