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cadet blogs

Indoor Track and Beyond

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo I slap my legs a few times, bounce up and down, and brace myself for the baton. I watch as Jordan Lee flies past a few guys and is all of a sudden in the top 3. 1:53, 1:54, 1:55… I grab the baton and take off. It’s a surreal moment, flying on the banked track of Boston University, barely hearing my own breathing next to the roar of the crowd.


One year earlier, I had thought my track days were done; I had pushed my body too hard and my shins were in constant pain. The dreams of becoming a state champion had vanished, the hopes of running a school record gone. I could barely go on a 30 minute run without stopping to limp; the multitude of injuries had left me with bitter memories of a potential unfulfilled. I was tired.


I talked myself into doing cross country again at the Academy; my passion for the sport was far greater than the pain of my shins. I knew that with the lack of running I had done in the past few months, my season would not be very pretty, but it was worth it. Getting out of formal room and wing, traveling to different meets across Connecticut and Massachusetts, and running with a bunch of fast guys made the season a good one. Plus, the base I built for track helped a ton.


I sprint toward the finish, raising my arm to pass the baton to my teammate James Martin. I am no longer in the top 3, but I know our team is on pace for a great 4X800 meter relay time. The field was incredible, featuring many Division I schools, and just making the meet was a feat in itself. Now it was up to our last two legs.


James cruised through his 800, and as he passed the baton over to our anchor Ryan Hub, I knew we were in position for a tremendous PR. As Ryan crossed the line, we glanced at the clock and I didn’t believe what I saw.


8:00 for the 4X8. We had run a 13 second PR. I even ran a PR on my 800 split, proving to myself that I had finally come back from my high school injuries and that this was the start of something incredible for our team. With one sophomore and three freshmen, the road ahead looks promising.


As I write this, I’m on the train back home from New York City, where we just ran our 4X8 team at the ECAC championships at the New York Armory. The Armory is perhaps the greatest track facility I’ve ever been too; the entire building is dedicated to track and field. With the 8 flat we had run the previous week, we had qualified for ECACS, bettering the entry mark by 8 seconds. At the beginning of the season if you had said I’d be running in ECACS, I would have probably laughed at you. Even though we did not get a PR today, we still ran a solid 8:05 and the overall experience was amazing. I know our team will do great things in the near future. I’m excited to see how far the United States Coast Guard Academy Cross Country/Distance Track Teams can go in the future. Stay tuned.


More about Zachary.


Spring Stream of Consciousness

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo For once I didn’t have something pre-planned about which to write, which is pretty shocking. I’ll start with this: “Spring break was last week.” I’ll do a short stream of consciousness entry to for this blog. I guess it kind of fits with the coming of spring—spring rains filling the streams…? I don’t know.


For break I went home, but I got sick, so I really didn’t do anything super exciting; it was nice to not have to do any schoolwork, though. I did get to meet with a family that contacted me through reading my blog. I enjoyed telling them all about the Academy and answering their questions. I also received several emails from prospective cadets with questions (keep them coming, please!), so, while I wasn’t on official “recruiting leave” (R-Leave), I like to tell people that I did as much recruiting for the Academy as had I actually been on R-Leave.


And now we’re back, racing to the end of the year. It’s been so nice lately. I love it! Spring is probably my favorite season—I like the “thawing” feeling after winter…even though this one wasn’t that cold. Nevertheless, the time change has been really nice. It stays bright out so much later; to me, it makes the day seem longer.


In literature, we’ve been doing a poetry study. Spring reminds me of a poem I read for my Advanced Placement (AP) literature class. It’s called “The Motive for Metaphor” by Wallace Stevens. You should definitely read the whole poem, but I’ll put the most applicable stanza (2nd stanza) here: 


“In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon—”


I think part of my excitement is simply the fact that things are moving forward. I can’t believe that I’m almost done (3/4 of the way there) with my freshman year of college! This is definitely an exciting time at the Academy—everyone is looking forward to the summer that lies ahead. The Thursday before Spring Break was Billet Night, so all the 1/c cadets (seniors) found out where and what their first assignment is. The 3/c cadets (sophomores) just found out their assignments for Swab Summer—what type of cadre they are going to be (Swab Summer, AIM, for example). Soon, we, the 4/c cadets (freshmen), and the 2/c cadets (juniors) will find out where we will be in the fleet this summer. 


As my final little blurb, I’ll share with you an excerpt from a short story I am working on for a creative writing contest here at the Academy. This piece doesn’t have a title yet, and it’s not that polished, but I’ll share it with you all anyway. 


"She had never considered the ocean before, but then again neither had he. Too long had both of them dreamed of climbing mountains and hiding away in forests for them to consider the vast salted waters. Where would this take them?

She sat at her writing desk, and the window of that corner room was open. The apartment, high enough up, was spared the grungy noise of the street below. A street not too particularly busy but well worn by buses, garbage trucks, police cars, and minivans.

In the breeze that drifted through the window, Anne thought she could smell the salt from the ocean, but she had never been so close to the ocean, so how could she know what a sea breeze smelled like. She turned a critical eye to the pale blue beyond the window frame. Now she wished she and Roger had picked an apartment with an ocean view. She needed a better understanding of the ocean, a reaction that was new to her. But how could they have known such a view would be something they wanted at the time?

She stood up, went to the kitchen, and filled a glass of water.

There really had been nothing special about that evening. The temperature average and cool, typical of a northwest evening. A few thin clouds slightly pink from the setting sun, but the sky just a dull blue. The gray of the twilight was calming. The two of them, Anne and Roger, had been walking along the street that followed the shoreline. Where it had curved back up toward the center of town, they had continued walking straight, through the tall, sandy-colored grass. The feel of the grass sliding softly over her arms and past her ankles filled Anne with an excited tingling. She had slowed ever so slightly, expecting Roger to do the same, as he usually did. Instead, he pushed on. Anne watched him as he almost frantically moved the tall stalks aside. Something was bothering him, she knew. By the time she reached the small sandy cove, Roger was already standing at the edge of the water. For another few moments Anne watched as the water moved up and covered Rogers feet before receding back. His toes dug into the soft, wet sand.

Anne followed his lead, taking off her sandals. She placed hers next to his. The grainy sand certainly felt odd between her toes. She was a bit uncomfortable. Passing by Roger, she put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing it so that he would know that she was there.

The wet sand felt much different, and was much colder. Anne was hesitant about this new feeling; she hadn’t expected to find a texture like this among nature. Even the soft silt of a riverbed didn’t compare to the sliding feel of the wet sand. She was certainly intrigued by this, and, curious to know more about the sensation, walked along the boundary of land and water. The water rushed to meet her bare ankles now and again. The contact still shocked her. It made her feel cold. The wind was blowing, pressing her skirt close to her legs. It felt warmer that way. She pulled the thin cardigan tighter to her body, buttoned it, and pulled down the sleeves so that they covered the back of her hands.

She was surprised when she came upon a tidal pool in a more rocky area of the small beach. She recalled her days as a little girl at the zoo getting to touch the animals at the aquarium. Those had been tide pool animals. She thought she recognized some of them. She smiled at the starfish. She knew that one. She gazed at the pool for a little longer, but it was getting too dark.

Anne turned to face the street. Some large rocks a few paces up the beach were the ideal place for her to sit and listen.

They stayed all night. After listening to the area’s story told by the sounds of the nature nearby, Anne fell asleep. She wasn’t sure what time Roger had moved from standing in the water to sitting in the sand, but that’s where he was when she woke up. They stayed there until noon.

She had been the one to get up and walk back to the road, silently nudging him to leave, to come home. He grudgingly got up and walked silently to her. She took his hand as they walked home."


As usual, a CGA with an explanation. 


I know that Swab Summer is fast approaching for the class of 2016. This is about the time when everyone starts to find out about acceptance, so I know this can be an exciting and scary time. 


Cadre Gushed Anger – Pretty self-explanatory. 


Cadets Grasped Algebra – Well, technically we weren’t cadets yet, but nevertheless we did attend weekly “Swab Summer Math” classes to refresh on the Algebra we learned earlier in high school. 


Calisthenics Good All-Around – Morning workouts. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, too. 


More about Justin.