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