High School Athletics

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight

    C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight Member

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    I don't wanna make one of those, "how do I stand up" posts, but I have a question about sports during high school.

    This year will only be my second year of track and I am a junior. I have not done any other sports. I will most likely do swim senior year, but am still fairly undecided.

    I don't do a lot of sports due to the fact that I live 30+ minutes away from my school and getting rides is often hard. Does USNA really care about that? Like, will it come up in my BGO interview?

    Also, what types of things will cover up for the lack of sports? I've heard that USNA relies on sports heavily and that it is very hard to get an appointment without a variety of sports. Is this true?

    Any responses from past/current mids about what sports they did in high school would also be appreciated.
     
  2. Telur

    Telur Member

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    I'm applying for the class of 2014 without ever playing a varsity sport. I'm scholastically, medically and physically qualified, keep in good shape, have hiked the Grand Canyon and mountains of New Mexico with a 50lb pack. I motivated and kept our squad together at NASS. Do plenty of community service, lead peers in many other extra curriculars, taking all AP classes this year.

    I've never played a varsity sport = haven't heard anything from the admissions board. :frown:

    Dunno if this helps, but if I could go back and change it, I would have picked up a sport freshman year and stuck with it.

    Edit: Also received nomination from House Rep. It is still early though, and hope is not lost. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Check out my sticky above for general info on how USNA views sports.

    Do you have to be a varsity athlete? No. That said, >90% of admitted candidates are varsity athletes.

    You do not need to participate in multiple sports -- one is fine if you are devoted to it and are otherwise in good shape. If you're a runner, be sure to work on your upper body strength in some way.

    There are three main reasons USNA looks for varsity athletes. First, it is generally an indication you are in good physical shape. Second, sports are important at USNA and, if someone is not active in h.s. sports, it suggests (maybe incorrectly) that they don't like sports which could make them unhappy/unsuccessful at a SA. Third, team sports build team comraderie, working as a unit, etc, all of which are important at USNA.

    If it is difficult for you to participate in h.s. sports for whatever reason, I suggest you try community sports, summer leagues, etc. If you can't do that either, you should be prepared to explain to your BGO why you can't participate -- this need not be a long sob story, just the facts -- and the things you do to stay in shape (such as the above poster described or maybe your personal workout program). And do really well on the CFA.
     
  4. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    If you are not participating in high school sports you should expect it to be discussed during your interview as your rationale for the omission will be expected to be "covered" in the interview report. There are several acceptable reasons for not participating in sports, just be certain you are doing something to establish and maintain your physical fitness... not just for the admissions process, but because you will need to be in top physical condition to do well during Plebe Summer - the days are hot and humid and seem to go on forever with little opportunity to rest.

    Best wishes
     
  5. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

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    As usual BGO's 1985 & 1964 have very good advice and insite to the athletics question.

    However, in todays world there are a lot of sports that are unconventional or just not offered in your local high school. It does not mean you are not a good athlete just that you can't enjoy your sport through your local high school. However in the appplication process this is something that can hurt you or derail your entire application. At best you have a lot of explaining to do that a HS Varsity athelete does not.

    When my future mid was a sophmore in HS we met what I will call the BGO Emeritus for Nothern Cal. He gave me one of the best pieces of advice regarding the entire athletics subject.

    His simple advice was this: If you are the captain of a HS team you can write about your leadership etc. and it's a positive on the application. Reality is there are very few HS varsity captains but a lot of plain varsity atheltes. If you are a regular varsity athlete then in effect you are simply "checking the box" on the application. You made the team and participated for X seasons in sport X. His brilliant advice was this: Every HS has varsity teams that have no cuts and take 100% of anyone who signs up. Join one of those teams for a season or 2 and that will allow you to "check the box" regarding varsity athletic participation.

    He sited an example for me: Had a female candidate that he felt was a shoe in for an appointment except she had never played a varsity sport. She did have a sport, skiing, and was a racer with trophies to prove it. Her HS did not offer skiing as a sport. He had her find a non cut sport at her HS and join the team her junior year. In her case she joined the swim team and finished last in all her meets. However she could now legitimately check the varsity athelte box on the application. Fast forward, she not only got into USNA but graduated and is now flying helos for the Navy.
     
  6. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    Wow, I was told almost the exact same thing. My sport is cycling. Very few high schools in the country have a high school cycling time, and I don't even know if any schools in my state have one. For those who do cycle know that its a very time intensive sport. Even though I am good at it, I can't check that varsity box. So I'm running track this year (I'm a junior). Can't say I plan on bringing home the gold, but I can say I'll be able to check that box come next year.
     
  7. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

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    Good for you! If you make it into USNA you will have opporunities with your cycleing experience. My mid raced dirt bikes and joined the HS track team to check the box. Once at USNA she found a club sport and has never looked back. This Spring break the team is headed to England for some warm-up competition and is going to make a serious run at a National Championship in the spring season. You never know where the road will lead you.

    Best of luck!
     
  8. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Our experience is it's not quite that easy in large metro areas. Even less common sports are competitive enough that not everyone makes varsity. And many of the sports are not really open as a "walk on", even less common ones like tennis & lacrosse. Forget about baseball, soccer, or football unless you are a star who has been on a traveling team, all-star, etc.

    My son did make it onto the track team this year, and it looks like he may get to compete in varsity events. But if you don't compete, you don't get a letter. And some on the team may not get to compete.

    Similar is true for class rank, in his school the entire top 10% of the class is over 4.0 GPA. With 8 students achieving perfect reading+math SAT scores in his junior class since fall, and they suspect a couple more to come, competition is very tough. (It's a very competitive magnet program) So while he is currently in the top ten %, he is at risk even with a 4.3 GPA.

    We've been told that the admissions teams will factor in the competitiveness of the school itself, but for situations where it's just a check box analysis you can get missed.

    The core advice to find a sport, try out, get involved even if it's JV is all valid.

    But a varsity letter is not a slam dunk at all schools as a "walk on" in larger metro areas. :smile:
     
  9. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

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    Agree with your statements and understand. My mid's HS class graduated 750 students her senior year. My point remains the same, just being a member of a HS or JV Varsity team allows you to "check the box ". Earning a letter is a personal achievement and a nice to have but does not mean very much as far as the application process is concerned.

    The exact phrase the Emeritus BGO used in describing his example was " he did not care if she walked across the bottom of the pool every meet. The key point, she was an official member of the team.
     
  10. time2

    time2 Member

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    Being physically fit and properly prepared for the rigors of Plebe Summer as well as the Academy in general involves more than being able to 'check a box' from some marginal varsity sports involvement. Regardless of what you did or didn't do in high school, you will be expected to keep up with the 90+% who were varsity athletes, typically in a physically demanding sport. Something to keep in mind for those who imply you can 'game' the system and/or your application just to get an appointment.
     
  11. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I don't think that was the intention at all! The point was the opposite - these are people who may be in great shape but feel they're at a disadvantage unless they can check that "varsity" box, since their sport isn't a traditional high school one. Interesting to see how many are in the same situation - my son's been stressing out too since he does triathlon - which means he can bike, swim, and run, but won't get a letter for it. He's done the musicals at the HS each year, which has prevented him from doing track in the past, but skipped it this year (junior) so that he can run track and get that "HS Sport" box taken care of!
     
  12. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

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    Gameing the system is certainly not the intent.

    With a very tough 4 part admissions process. BGO interviews and going up against canidate pools in the 14 to 18K range it's a tough system to game. The admissions process has been in place for decades and they have gotten pretty good at their jobs.
     
  13. C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight

    C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight Member

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    Thanks for all the info. One of the problems outside of living 30+ minutes away is the fact that I was given the mis-information that you must have a 6th period P.E. class for most sports and I simply didn't have room in my schedule. And as far as community leagues, the sports in my town are pretty much for either kids or adults. However I might make Varsity Track this year. And next year I plan on taking swim as one of my classes and doing Water Polo and Swim. Depending on how things go.
     

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