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Capt. Frank Swan, officer selection officer for Recruiting Station Chicago, monitors collegiate athletes as they press ammo cans, during their training exercise at Northwestern University’s Nicolette Indoor Training Facility in Evanston, Ill., Feb. 16, 2016. The athletes were learning Marine Corps combat readiness fundamentals while receiving mid-season physical conditioning training.

Photo by Cpl. Bradley Carrier

Advance to Contact: Chicago Marines Train with Northwestern University Women's Lacrosse

17 Feb 2016 | Cpl. Bradley Carrier 9th Marine Corps District

EVANSTON, Ill. – Chicago-area U.S. Marines held a physical training and team-building exercise with the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team at the university’s Nicolette Indoor Practice Training Facility, Feb. 16, 2016.

 The Marines, from 9th Marine Corps District and Northwestern University’s Navy ROTC unit, taught the student-athletes how to attack an objective with tenacity and ferocity, which could help them to earn a National College Athletic Association Championship.

 The event was organized by Capt. Daniel Cartica, the Marine officer instructor at Northwestern and recent world record setter for the World Marathon Challenge, and former Marine captain Taylor Harris, program coordinator for the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team.

 While the athletes were unaware in the beginning, the intent behind the workout was to simulate the “fog of war” or “battlefield friction”. Once the event became stressful enough, the athletes were shown how to overcome it quickly and efficiently. After practice, Cartica explained to the players why they performed the exercises without prior knowledge of what they would be doing.

 “Your mind will tell you when your body thinks it’s done, but you will always have more left in the tank,” Cartica said. “Being a Marine or being a Division I athlete, you have to maintain that physical and mental courage in order to succeed, no matter what you’re undertaking, whether it’s a marathon, or an NCAA championship game.”

 The circuit course consisted of a one-mile warm up run at six minutes, 40 seconds per mile pace to determine where each player would begin the course, followed by stations of group pushups, air squats, sled pushes, ammo can lifts and burpees. Each Marine positioned at a station showed a color-coded card indicating they were the target station.

Depending on how quickly the teams reacted to the cards would determine how many repetitions of the prescribed station exercise would be performed.

 “I really learned that it is important to meet a problem head on and with a good plan,” said Emily Eichner, a college senior and defensive player. “If you don’t allow the opposing team or the enemy a chance to defend themselves against a well-structured attack, you will win every time.”

 After the workout, the Marines and the players expressed positive feedback during a post-practice team meeting, much like Marines would conduct an after-action debrief. The Marines were also able to provide the coaches insight about each player’s humility and leadership abilities, and who showed heart and determination throughout the training.

 “It takes a lot for us to build this constantly rotating group of women into a nationally competitive team,” said Harris. “The insight and mentorship you Marines provided us today is invaluable to the success of our team.”

 Northwestern is currently 1-1 in the season, and their next home game is scheduled for March 8, in Evanston, Ill., against Marquette University.            

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