What sports should I participate in to help for admission to the Academy?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by peterdoyle, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. peterdoyle

    peterdoyle New Member

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    I'm entering high school this year, and I was wondering what sports I should participate in during high school to help for admission to the U.S. Military Academy. Academically, I have a strong background, and during my freshman year, I will even be taking an honors chemistry course designed for juniors. I know that West Point will prefer me doing something that I love, but I have no experience in any of the sports that my new school offers, and I want to pick up a new sport in high school. With that said, which sports from this list should I participate in during high school to help me for admission to West Point?

    These sports are the only ones offered at my school.

    [Choose One Sport Per Season Only From This List (Assume you have equal or no experience in any of these sports)]

    Fall Sports Season
    - Cross Country
    - Soccer

    Winter Sports Season
    - Swimming
    - Basketball
    - Wrestling

    Spring Sports Season
    - Lacrosse
    - Tennis
    - Baseball
    - Golf

    Also, please explain why you would choose the specific combination? Thank you very much.
     
  2. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    You might want to look at this thread with answers to questions posted by rubio1996 : http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?p=198712#post198712 and http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?p=199733#post199733" It's very similar to your question and he posted the same question in all of the different academy sections too. He also took a special chemistry class. I think he eventually decided to do cross country and wrestling because of conficts with drama productions.

    Personally, I would mark baseball off the list because I don't feel it is a sport that you can just pick up and start playing as a high schooler. Most kids start playing baseball much earlier. In my area, baseball is a year-round sport also, not just spring. However, your mileage may vary.....
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  3. stonemd

    stonemd Member

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    cross country - running is part of CFA, APFT
    wrestling - upper body strength is part of CFA, APFT

    both easier to start in HS as fewer kids have experience in these sports

    but you have to do a sport you enjoy

    my son loves wrestling, dislikes running and would never have done X country
     
  4. will60633

    will60633 Member

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    I do know Service Academies like team sports as they are a great outlet to teach small unit leadership, something the military is very big on. I personally play lacrosse, and love it to death, but I have heard wrestling is a very easy sport to pick up in high school considering that most high school wrestlers have no pre high school experience. I agree with the comment about baseball. Where I live, basketball is the same way. But honestly, it comes down to doing what you want to do!
     
  5. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    Number one choice for a new sport, hands down would definitely be cross country. There are plenty of people I met at NASS that decided to pick up cross country their senior year just become more fit (including myself). It can be very hard at first but as your time starts to decrease, you will be satisfied with your improvement. I went from 25:17 to 23:17 in just 3 days for 5k.

    I do not know how sport conditioning is done in your area but I am highly doubtful that you could participate in 100% of team functions for fall/winter sports or winter/spring sports. In my area if you were to do cross country, you will miss basketball conditioning. If you were to play basketball, you will miss baseball conditioning. Get the picture?

    Of the spring sports you listed, I would say try lacrosse. My area doesn't even offer it but I believe lacrosse with help you stay fast and get stronger for the CFA. Again, I do not know how competitive your area is. Baseball is definitely highly technical and I doubt you will even make the team as a total newbie if you go to a large school (no offense).
     
  6. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    Wrestling. Toughest workouts of any sport. Ask any wrestler (well... you're kinda already reading one's comments...).

    Also you learn how to eat right and manage your weight; an important life skill.

    You will work harder than you ever have in your life; and I think that's valuable academy preparation.
     
  7. NateClass2016

    NateClass2016 Member

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    As an avid wrestler, I am extremely biased. Wrestling is much easier to pick up in high school, especially if you are not in a "powerhouse state" (Penn, Ohio-mine, NY, Mich, Minn, Iowa, Cali, and a few others). It definately teaches discipline, requires strong muscular endurance and cardio (ask a xc runner who wrestles about how tough it is), develops work ethic, and accountability (no one can be blamed for how you did). It is still a team sport as well. A Navy Seal once told me that wrestlers often do the best of all athletes when it comes to special ops training. If you have any questions about the sport just ask me, I have wrestled on the national level so I have been around the block a few times.
     
  8. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    You should do something that you love.

    But your question is - what will help you in the admissions process.
    IOW - with your file.

    From purely an admissions viewpoint, what WP values most is being Captain of a Varsity team contact sport (think Varsity football Captain).

    Why? It shows athleticism (Varsity), leadership (Captain), you work well with others to obtain a goal (a team sport), physical toughness (contact sport) - all qualities that can point to success at WP.

    But not everyone can be captain of the Varsity football team( and your school doesn't even have a FB team).
    Focus then on a team contact sport. On your list that would be soccer and Lacrosse.
    BUT - it would be far better to be a competitive swimmer with times that take you to State than sit on the bench on the Soccer team.
    As some have mentioned, some of these sports would be very difficult to pick up because many on the team will have played that sport for several years. But don't let that deter you if you think you would really like that sport. We've all heard of highly successful athletes who didn't play their sport until high school.

    It also depends on your school. Do they have try-outs and a cut policy?

    For someone with no experience in any sport, Cross Country is a great sport to pick up because anyone can run. It's great for endurance which will be beneficial at WP.

    It's great that you are a freshman. You can try several sports this year. But after that focus on one or 2 sports. Don't be still trying to find your sport when you are a Junior.

    With all that said - don't worry about what gets you the most points on your Whole Candidate Score. Find a sport that makes you happy because you will be more likely to excel at that sport than be miserable in a sport that you are doing just for admissions purposes.

    So try some different sports this year and then focus on the one(s) that you like the most and be the best you can be at that sport(s). :thumb:
     
  9. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    Do something you like

    I echo the sentiment – do what you enjoy, do it to the best of your abilities and seek out the leadership roles. It is really going to suck if you do a sport for 4 years you don’t like only to find yourself not accepted for some reason. Its about your whole candidate score. Get really really good grades, show leadership, lots of leadership, and do well on the CFA. Our district (VA 11) sent 27 to West Point this year. They had a wide variety attributes that got them in. Many equally talented didn’t get in. In my sons school one got in who never earned a varsity letter. He was 5th of 625 in his class, Eagle Scout, marching band, Boys state. Another was 12th of 625, travel Soccer, Eagle Scout, many other activities. Another who had multiple varsity letters, team captains, Class officer, other activities 18th of 625 (still a 4.1GPA) ended up on the wait list and didn’t get in and will try again this year. All did real well on the CFA. The cadets in my sons platoon played a wide variety of sports and activities. All had a different combination of success.
     
  10. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    The first two probably took up the congressman's appointments... that really sucks for the last guy
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually, USMA only 1 could take up the Cong, 2 could come from Sens. Even if Connolley, Warner and Webb both had 2 slates available, you would only end with 6 being charged not 27.

    I live in that district, and it is not uncommon to have so many cadets come from this area, because this area has 1 of the best school districts in the nation. Their county school budget is bigger than the lowest 8 states school budget --- the mean SAT is over 1350 out of 1600, that means you are below avg in the county if you don't break 1300. The public magnet school here, TJJHS, actually has been removed from Public HS ranking by magazines to private because they are that good. Even than they are still the number 1 in the nation and have been for yrs. They are not private, you don't pay to attend, you attend free of charge, but test in. They beat Andover, Gonzaga, Peddy, etc. academically where the cost is 30/40k a yr for the others

    Additionally due to the location many of their parents are military, thus they may have the Presidential, but again only 100 can come off that list.

    Finally, if you don't get your MOCs charge, you may be eligible to go into the NWL. This is where geographic location no longer matters and it is all about the WCS.

    What oldcorpsdad just stated was even from the NWL, this kid's WCS was not high enough to garner an apptmt from the NWL. He would be your competition if you don't win your MOC's nom. regardless of where you live and what slate you are on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  12. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Leadership

    All sports are good but try to get a leadership position in your sport.
    I think combative sports are highly rated - football and wrestling are great. They emphase hard work, teamwork, and performance under pressure - exactly what the Army wants.
     
  13. TheDukeOfEarl

    TheDukeOfEarl Member

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    Contact sports -- wrestling, football, lacrosse, basketball (and yes basketball is a contact sport at high school level, as I was surprised to find out when DS finally got to that level) -- may get slight edge over non-contact sports at USMA perhaps, but I think the main thrust of the emphasis on varsity sports participation is that team membership shows you can fit into a group, work within a "program", deal with the inevitable ribbing and joking that takes place on a team, and know what it is to "platoon" on a team by doing whatever asked, even if it's not the star position or the position of glory. At the very least, playing a sport shows you have stamina and basic ability and coordination. So what sports you do does not matter as long as you do something!

    Summarizing, including all responses above:
    - If you have no real preference, then do cross-country since it fits with the whole CFA and good shape aspects. This is the one sport that even if you hate running, you should do. It is the one you need no prior experience to do right out of the gate.
    - For the winter, strongly consider wrestling, since it gives you a true contact sport, and if you have never played basketball, you aren't about to learn to dribble at age 14 or 15. Wrestling is also a sport most likely to have a whole bunch of noobies playing it in first year of high school, since most towns don't have wrestling programs for younger kids like they do for basketball and baseball.
    - Similarly, I'd say consider lacrosse in the Spring if you have interest in it and are ok with the hockey-like checking. You may not get a lot of playing time in games at first, but it tends to be a sport many kids only try for the first time when they get to high school. Tennis is a good second choice (still requires wind and stamina). Golf, I dunno, but pick it for sure over baseball if you have never played baseball. Again, as stated by another person above, you aren't about to try to learn how to bat and to field a baseball at age 14 or 15. At least not well.
    - Also as stated by another poster above, after you have picked the sport(s), you may want to evaluate your chances for captaincy, since that's high on the list of EC points at USMA. But teams can only have one or 2 or 3 captains, so this is a lesser consideration.
    - If you find that you hate a sport, DO NOT QUIT IT unless you can switch to another sport with little fanfare and disruption. If you can't switch, just plan to get out of it for the next season. You may, in the end, after all your planning, never get into USMA or USNA or any other academy, in which case you just spent 4 years making yourself miserable playing sports you hate because that's what you thought "they want"; don't be afraid to move around if you need to. Do the one(s) that you find you like. This may take you a season or a year of trying. As far as I know, USMA will not penalize you for being a sports shopper (i.e., doing 3 sports your freshman year,and then dropping two of those in favor of some other sports). As long as you are doing SOMETHING in your afternoons besides playing XBox and sitting in your bedroom posting on Facebook, you are well ahead of the average kids anyway.

    All that said, keep in mind that you do NOT need to do a sport every single season if you are deeply involved in other activities (especially leadership activities) at your school or church or community. For instance, if you are your class president, or yearbook editor, or band major (or all 3 :smile: ) then no one could fault you for not doing a winter sport or a fall sport. But you should definitely do some sport or two each year, and plan to make varsity in them.

    Finally, keep in mind that USMA is looking for the "Rennaissance man and Rennaissance woman" -- strong academics, athletics, leadership, interest in the world and interest in growing themselves. Sports is just one piece of that puzzle. Enjoy your high school years and focus on making them memorable and productive. If you do that instead of worrying about USMA for the next 3 or 4 years, then you'll come out ahead. From what I read on here, it seems the kids who approach it that way seem to have a higher acceptance rate than the kids who try and force their life and their record to fit into what they think USMA wants. What worse way to end up, having done 4 years of things you hate and to no avail. Do 4 years of things you like that happen to also make you an attractive candidate to USMA and you will, in the end, be an attractive candidate to the other 50 top schools in the country as well. And that way, no matter what happens, you can't lose.

    Good luck. :thumb:
     
  14. keg

    keg Member

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    Very well put. Defiantly do what YOU think is best, it'll be overall better for you.
     

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