DeBoer had been preparing for the physical part of the test since the summer. In addition to training with the SDSU ROTC unit, he worked out with Staff Sgt. Sam Schaefers, who won the noncommissioned officer category.Following the interview session with the sergeant majors, it was time to get to the physically demanding sections."I was ready to get outside and start doing the more physical competitions and shooting," he said. "The land nav(igation) was kind of frustrating. It was a tough course. We were given five points and needed to find a post they put in the trees. We had two hours to find it."As the competition was wrapping up, DeBoer felt good about his chances to win."I knew I had a chance to win. I felt I had done pretty well up to that point but I knew there were others right up there with me, who had done well in all of the events," he said. "I knew the NCO from my unit won so I had to win, too."DeBoer is a member of the Watertown-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion."I've always been interested in the military. I wanted to go active duty and was told I should go to college first so I joined the National Guard while in college. I'm glad I did it," said DeBoer about his decision to join the S.D. National Guard.And now he gets to say he is one of the nation's best.