Nenycz wins NCO title
PLYMOUTH — Last weekend, Staff Sergeant Jerry Nenycz, of Plymouth, fought against eight other competitors in a contest to determine the best soldier and Non-Commissioned Officer in Indiana.
Nenycz, an NCO, eventually took home the title, after placing first or second in nearly every event in the three-day physical and mental contest.
“At the end of each day we got a running total (score) so we knew where we were,” explained Nenycz. “It felt good to be in the lead, but at no point did I feel like I had a breather, or like I was safe.”
Events in the competition included land navigation scenarios, obstacle courses, an eight-mile road march, and hand-to-hand combat.
Nenycz said that competing against one of his friends enhanced the experience for him.
“It was definitely a pleasure to compete against him,” said Nenycz. “Just knowing he was still in it pushed me to work harder. We were enemies (in the contest) but we are friends.. If anything, we are better friends now. We shook hands afterward.”
His relationship with the other contestants, some of whom he had never met before, was amiable, said Nenycz.
“People wanted to win, (but) everyone was very professional,” said Nenycz. “We had a competitive, but friendly relationship.”
The skills he is honing by competing in these categories can also help him in other areas of life.
“When it comes to things like land navigation, most people have a GPS now,” pointed out Nenycz. “They aren’t going to find themselves stuck in the middle of the woods (with nothing). But it’s more of a mental thing: are you helpless, or can you find your way out? It’s about being self-sufficient.”
He also values learning how to be a gracious winner or loser, first aid skills, and staying in shape.
Nenycz will be going on to a regional competition, held in Michigan, May 14-17. The best soldiers from seven states — Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Ohio — will jump into another competitive situation, this time with slightly more in-depth and intense tasks.
“People are just going to be good, they are going to be experts,” said Nenycz of the upcoming regional competition. “No one there is going to be weak.”
He added that he expects the competition to eventually end with a national winner.
Nenycz said that he appreciates the support of everyone who has been encouraging him, but none more so than his chosen sponsor and boss, Josh Fassoth. Fassoth was the one who originally encouraged Nenycz to enter the contest, so Nenycz said that choosing him as his sponsor was “pretty much a no-brainer.”
“We think alike, and we have the same work ethic and mentality,” said Nenycz. “(Fassoth) kept me focused and guided me, and I couldn’t have done this without him. He’s fought for me from the beginning.”