Sandhurst ’09 – 4th Win in Five Years for RMC!

Sandhurst Competition

“To provide the Corps of Cadets with a challenging and rewarding inter-company military skills competition, which will enhance leadership qualities, professional development and military excellence in selected military skills.”

RMC earns 4th win in five years!

RMC bettered 47 other teams from the United States and abroad. West Point fielded 32 of them; along with the defending champions and 2008, 2nd place finishers – both teams from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst .

Afghanistan, Chile, West Point prep school, Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and Coast Guard Academy were all well represented.

Eight Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) squads divided amongst two regions in the U.S.: eastern and western rounded out the field.

The eastern region was represented by East Carolina University, Appalachian State, Florida Tech and Georgetown.

Hawaii, Iowa, Texas A&M and BYU competed for the western region.

RMC has participated in the Sandhurst competition since 1997. At first glance, winning the Sandhurst competition may come as little surprise. After all, it’s Team RMC’s 4th win over the past five years. However, nothing could be farther from reality. From the coaching staff and all the competitors it is an eight month grind. Arguably, the toughest and most challenging combination mental / physical competition any of the Officer Cadets have experienced in their lives.

Director of Cadets, LCol Tony O’Keeffe (pictured above – right) likely sums it up best: “I think that this year’s success was due to a lot of little things coming together, and the attention paid to details. There is plenty of credit to go around; however, 22853 Capt Issac Goldberg (RMC 2004) has played a prominent role in RMC’s success. He coached them as one would coach high performance athletes. He did all of the little things right, he respected the principles of periodized training, and balanced hard training with quality rest and proper nutrition.”

Tony O’Keeffe, a world class ultra marathoner in his own right, and a Canadian Forces Hall of Fame member, knows what he is talking about when it comes to competing. He added, “…The results allowed RMC to field a healthy, well trained, confident team whose focus was to submit personal “best efforts”. They knew that by focusing on what they could control, ie: best efforts, the results would take care of themselves…”

He concluded with, “Capt Goldberg and Capt Nathan Price provided high quality coaching and mentoring to cadets that is consistent with their performances as Squadron Commanders. The RMC supporters who made the trip to West Point were superb in their energies and enthusiasm. I am proud of RMC.”

As an aside, the first year, DCdt cycled from Syracuse to West Point on Thursday, to do some training in the hills. “My plan was to ride back on Sunday but I broke my chain, and so I am traveling back by van.”

We expect the Sandhurst competition site to be updated very soon which will have a complete recap of the final results / standings.

The reaction at RMC …

“Like all members of the Royal Military College of Canada, this morning I bask in the reflected glow of our team’s result in the Sandhurst competition. Though there will always be some element of luck in these events, the fact that the RMC team put in so much effort in the preceding months meant that they were very well prepared for whatever came their way, and once again they stand at the top of the mountain. I couldn’t be more proud of the team members and coaches.”

BGen TJ Lawson, Commandant – Royal Military College of Canada

“Ocdt Le Bouthillier did a fantastic job with his team; his outstanding performance during the competition was the catalyst for the win. During the first obstacle, each team was presented with a time/distance/speed challenge, which our cadets negotiated to perfection.

Each team had to cross a series of 45-gallon barrels using planks of wood of varying length, and purposely designed to be too short on their own to bridge the gaps. With the clock winding down and “Le Boot” as RMC’s last man, he took a huge risk and, displaying ninja-like reflexes, successfully leapt from one obstacle to another, beating the clock and executing a perfect, unpenalized run for the team. RMC was one of the only teams to do so. That was the galvanizing moment for the team.

“From then on, each of them showed remarkable courage and superb fitness. They had the audacity to capture an orienteering point set on land but visible from the water, while executing the water/boat obstacle. This bold move required a diversion from the established course and cost them a few extra minutes on the water, but it saved them almost 20 minutes of bushwhacking later, to achieve the same result. This year’s course designer, Col Haskins, made it clear that the course would be a “thinking persons” course. RMC cadets met the challenge by thinking “outside of the box.”

LCol Tony O’Keeffe, Director of Cadets

“So happy for the cadets, hundreds of hours of training finally paying off. Letting everyone else know that we have the fittest and brightest cadets was pretty amazing as well”

22702 Nathan Price – Member of coaching staff & 1 Squadron Commander

“This year’s competition was much more challenging for the experienced team from RMC. It was extremely physical as usual but there was also a huge thinking side that allowed RMC to win the event. The new competition had enough room for decision making that would affect the outcome and that is what allowed RMC to do a few daring moves that paid off. For a veteran like myself who lost the sword to the Brits in 2008, taking it back as the team captain was the culmination of three years of hard work representing RMC on the international scene. The hard training and dedication of my team was all worth it when we stepped on the podium to collect the title.”

24174 IV Jean Le Bouthillier- 2009 Team Captain


RMC Club Executive Director, S150 Peter Dawe congratulating one of the RMC particpants at the conclusion of the 2009 Sandhurst competition.  Peter has been a long time follower of the Sandhurst competition and has attended many of them over the past ten years or so.  See his comments below.

Two photos courtesy of 25490 Andrew Sheahan.


  • OCdt. Cullen Downey 2009 Team 2IC

    April 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    I love you guys, we did it, the sword is back where it belongs. “One shot”

  • Peter Dawe

    April 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

    I have witnessed most of the Sandhurst competitions in which RMC has competed over the years and I must say this year’s event was the most challenging physically and mentally. Without going into detail, the competition required analysis involving risk and reward and the team was absolutely superb. In watching other teams compete, incuding the vaunted Sandhurst teams, I thought our team was the calmest and most focused…no unnecessary shouting or running around, simply a serious application to the task at hand. In past years the competition was typically over in two hours or so. This year’s team completed the course in about three and a half hours so you can appreciate the additional sress and strain placed on the competitors.

    I liked the notion that the team was a complete representation of what is RMC – a good mix of francos and anglos, two very fit women, members from all four years, and representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The support staff consisted of cadets who managed to combine College projects with the competition; they were superb in my view. Finally, I thought the involvement and commitment of Capts Goldberg and Price to developing the team physically and mentally were second to none. Last Saturday was another great day to be a Canadian.

  • Captain Isaac Goldberg

    April 20, 2009 at 11:59 am

    While I anticipate submitting an article to give an in depth view of the competition from West Point in the near future, the team would like to quickly thank all of our supporters. Those who need to be mentioned in addition to what is written above include:

    Capt JV Lavoie, our coordinator and background support artist. His hours of arduous administration for the team got us where we needed to be with exactly what we needed. He has recently welcomed a new son to this world and as such could not make it down for the competition.

    OCdts Gaudreault, Spencer and Houle, our support network who assisted the team with all logistics, physical fitness and skills. Your help was invaluable and you deserve to share in this victory!

    The RMC Club for your continued support, Military Wing Staff for helping the team out any way you could, and those brave OCdts who came down to West Point on the overnight bus and cheered all day long!

    To our biggest fans, DCdts, CWSM, MWSM and the Adjt, thanks for all your support this year!

    Finally to the team; your trust in the training plan, your unwavering commitment to excellence, the notion of team before self, your daring, speed and self sacrifice are all testament to the people you are and the officers you will become. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ONE SHOT.

  • madeline

    April 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Great going team.

    Congratulations to all and to Isaac (and all involved)for his dedicated work.

    Grandmother in-law,


  • Sub Lieutenant Aislinn Joiner

    April 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Way to go Sandhurst! It’s nice to hear that RMC is back on the podium. I definitely feel very proud. Congratulations to the whole team and congrats to Isaac!

  • H2951 Ramsey Withers

    April 20, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    This outstanding performance not only reflects exemplary credit on the Team and the College but also Canada.

    Heartiest Congratulations!

    H2951 Ramsey Withers
    General (Retired)

  • Maj Kevin Wright

    April 21, 2009 at 10:33 am


    After many months of hard-work and sacrifice your victory is well-earned. From what I have heard this year’s course was a demanding one, both physically and mentally, and the whole team demonstrated it’s poise and prowess.

    My congratulations as well to the dedicated team of RMC staff who supported the cadets through their many months of training.

    Truth! – Duty! – Valour!

  • MattZ

    May 13, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    This is fantastic! 4 in 5 years!
    It’s even better since I have to conduct an interview about RMC’s participation in the Sandhurst competition!