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Cadet nurse helps keep Northern Warfare Challenge competitors safe

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Eagle Battalion Cadet Jessica Olejar used her nursing school studies to help keep competitors safe at the annual "Northern Warfare Challenge" on Saturday.

UW-La Crosse Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) sponsors the 17-mile endurance and skill training competition every year on Grandad Bluff.

"The most important thing is making that people are eating and people are drinking water," Cadet Olejar said. "I definitely like to remind people that if they're taking clothes off in this weather, that their temperature is going to drop quicker than they think."

The competitive drive to run and hike the course faster than other battalion teams can sometimes push cadets too far.

"I like to try and be a nice person as a nurse, but sometimes, you've got to ask those hard questions," Cadet Oeljar said. '''Are you able to continue this race? Are you able to go on? Do you feel okay?' And sometimes we have to make that tough call for them."

The race started and ended at Grandad Bluff's peak.

The cold temperature elements are typically the biggest challenge.

"It depends on the year," UW-La Crosse Eagle Battalion Cadet Corbin Evans said. "You break a sweat and then it freezes right away, so you get hypothermia and have to worry about the cold, and then other times, it's just keeping your body hydrated."

More than 300 cadets from all over the country competed.

Marcus Aarsvold

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