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FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin (WXOW) -
The US Military's 'Best Warrior' competition has invaded Ft. McCoy this week.
11 contestants from around the country, who qualified from a pool of roughly 36-thousand, are squaring off for the chance to advance to the next round of the competition.
Following that round, 12 contestants will compete in the finals in Virginia.
Wednesday morning the troops at Ft. McCoy took to the gun ranges -- first shooting at stationary targets and then at moving ones.
Among those participating in the contest are Sergeant First Class Theresa Ertl and Staff Sergeant Cristobal Santana.
Each of them is putting themselves through the competitions paces for different reasons.
"I wanted to challenge my skills, and just see how I compare to my peers," Ertl said.
"I wanted to show, within my unit, that I could be the best warrior in my unit," Santana said. "It came down to competitive spirit."
Both troops also said, win or lose, the competition has taught them a lot.
"I've learned it doesn't matter how hard you train, sometimes you run into someone training harder," Santana said.
"So as I'm doing things, and getting better at things, I always keep that in the back of my mind -- that someone out there is training just a little bit harder than I am," he said. "It kind of keeps me always moving forward."
"I just enjoy the camaraderie that we get through this competition," said Ertl, who plans to stay in touch with many of her fellow Best Warrior participants after the week at Ft. McCoy wraps up Thursday.
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