ID=26244833A duo team from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team claimed the top spot Thursday in the 2015 Best Sapper Competition.

First Lt. Daniel Foky and Sgt. Brandon Loeder beat out 90 other competitors in the grueling three-day competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Foky and Loeder belong to B Company, 127th Engineer Battalion, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This is the first time they've competed in the Best Sapper Competition.

"We didn't come in thinking we were going to win," said Loeder, adding that he was a last-minute substitute for Foky's original partner, who had to drop out a week before the competition for medical reasons.

"We were just coming out to compete to see how well we could do," Foky said. "We were surprised by the outcome and very happy about it."

In second place was another team from the 82nd Airborne Division. Capt. Jason Bahmer and Sgt. 1st Class Andre Bland represented 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, which is part of the 82nd Airborne's 3rd BCT.

A team from the 5th Engineer Battalion — 1st Lt. Christopher Bartenhagen and Staff Sgt. Armando Sandoval — claimed third place. The battalion is part of 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood.

A total of 92 engineers, working in 46 two-person teams, competed in this year's event.

Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

A Best Sapper competitor saws his way through an event during this week's competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Photo Credit: Army via Facebook

three-day Best Sapper Competition.They covered more than 50 miles over 50 hours of back-to-back events that included a ruck march, land navigation, physical fitness and engineer tactics.

To compete, soldiers must be serving in the engineer career field, and at least one of the team members must be a graduate of the Sapper Leader Course.

Foky and Loeder, who graduated from Sapper school just last month, said they studied a lot for the competition, poring over the Sapper handbook.

Their first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Matthew Zwolinski, who used to be a Sapper instructor, was a big help, Foky said.

"He had a lot of insight and knowledge," Foky said. "Having him really helped us to prepare in the last two days before this all kicked off."

Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Nearly 100 soldiers competed in this year's Best Sapper Competition, a series of back-to-back events that covered 50 miles in just more than two days.

Photo Credit: Army via Facebook

Throughout the three-day event, The pair's least favorite part of the three-day event probably event was probably the 20-mile road march, the men said.

"We knew it was going to hurt, but we didn't think it'd hurt as much as it did," Foky said.

It also didn't help that the road march was the second-to-last event of the three-day competition.

"We were pretty fatigued at that point, so going out and walking 20 miles with a rucksack wasn't my most favorite thing to do," Loeder said.

Despite the exhaustion, Foky and Loeder both said they would compete again.

Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Best Sapper competitors may be low on energy and sleep, but not on determination - they have pushed through seven Sapper Stakes events and are getting ready to begin Phase V this evening at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Best Sapper competitors had to fight through exhaustion, as well as a tough course, during this year's three-day event.

Photo Credit: Army via Facebook

"It was really awesome being around the teams because everyone who was here wanted to be here, and everyone who was here deserved to be here," Foky said. "Being able to compete against some really skilled, really proficient and really experienced soldiers and engineers was awesome. It was motivating."

It was an honor to compete, Foky said.

Loeder agreed.

"You're competing against guys who are the best in the regiment," he said.