A U.S. Marine Corps athlete participates in the 2019 Marine Corps Trials track competition at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 4, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Samantha Bray)
CAMP PENDLETON — Gunnery Sgt. Steven McKay spun his wheelchair around amid a sea of swarming defenders to score from the paint.
With spectators screaming "Go Marines!" from the bleachers at the field house, wheelchairs clashed, arms tangled and the race was on to the other side of the court where a player from the Defense Forces of Georgia scored a quick basket.
After two 20-minute halves, the Georgian wheelchair basketball team reigned supreme, winning 27-19 and securing the gold medal in the ninth annual Marine Corps Trials.
"It's disheartening," McKay, 33, of Fallbrook said Wednesday, March 6, after losing the game as a member of Wounded Warrior Battalion — West at Camp Pendleton. "At the same time, it was a good competition. They made better decisions. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on that and the score shows it."
The Army’s nascent gender-neutral Combat Readiness Test is based on the philosophy that male and female soldiers will have to perform the same tasks in combat, so they should meet the same physical fitness standards, a service official told Task & Purpose.