A Colorado Springs native placed third this month in the third annual Air Force Alpha Warrior Final Battle in Selma, Texas — a grueling race through 32 obstacles and fitness tests.

The obstacle course is “like ‘American Ninja Warrior’ meets CrossFit,” said 2nd Lt. Mary Caitlin Dominguez, who works as a clinical nurse on Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. She made it through several qualifying rounds before becoming one of 12 airmen — six men and six women — to advance to the final competition Sept. 12 on the Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds near San Antonio.

“That’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was so cool to just even be there,” said Dominguez, 30.

She finished the course in 26 minutes and 23 seconds, coming in third among the women, the Air Force said in a news release.

But she had just one day to recover before competing again: The three fastest men and three fastest women represented the Air Force in the second annual Inter-Service Alpha Warrior Battle on Sept. 14, again racing their way through the Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds.

“A bunch of us had ripped our hands from the bars and stuff on Thursday, so all day Friday, we were babying our hands and putting ointment (on them) and trying to get them to heal for Saturday,” she said, laughing.

“But personally, I think I did better on Saturday. They added some things to the course on Saturday, just to kind of make it a little bit more difficult, so everybody’s run time increased ... but I think I did much better on Saturday, even though I was tired.”

The Air Force team won for the second year in a row, and Dominguez finished in 28 minutes and 42 seconds.

“We all came together, supporting each other,” she said. “Even across the services — we were all hanging out with the Army and the Navy, and everyone was cheering each other on. It was really cool, because Air Force likes to promote how when we’re war fighters, we combine with all the different branches, so this was like a total exhibit of how all the forces come together to succeed.”

The Air Force says its Alpha Warrior program, which was launched by the Air Force Services Center in 2017, “has delivered and installed state-of-the-art fitness apparatus called battle rigs and stations at more than 70 Air Force installations.”

Dominguez said she appreciates that Alpha Warrior is “really focused on overall fitness and functional fitness, so more lifestyle-type stuff, and it’s really about involving family and kids and really directed toward service members, as well.”

Dominguez, who’s hoping to defend her title next year, grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from Rampart High School in 2007. She received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and earned an EMT certification from Pikes Peak Community College before joining the Air Force in 2013.

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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