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Bears, Badgers, and Bikes

(Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

Phew! My last post of the semester- it has all gone by so fast! I decided to end with a bang by writing about my experience at US Collegiate Club Triathlon Nationals. After months of training for the event, myself and twelve others on the USCGA Tri Team made the trip down to Lake Lanier, GA. I was glad I had my teammates. I would have gotten lost in the Atlanta Airport’s corn-mazed terminals without their navigation skills!

After landing in ATL, we drove an hour north to our rental house in Dawsonville. The cottage, with four floors, a lakeside view, and exercise room, was a triathlete’s paradise. It was all made possible by our coach, LT Lukasik. She planned our itinerary with such intricacy that we hardly had to do any scheduling of our own. LT might be leaving the academy at the end of this semester, but she will always be one of my biggest role models. The ”road to nationals” was largely attributed to her hard work- none of this would have been possible without her.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to race in the mixed team relay (MTR) with three of my teammates. This unique event, which typically isn’t offered at races, involves four legs- a 300m swim, 5k bike, and 800m run. Each member of the team (two males, two females) completes the distance, competing against other squads for the quickest time. We placed 26th in a stacked field- beating 12 DI/II club teams. It was quite a success, but the real challenge was Saturday- the individual race.

Compared to sprint, the long-distance triathlon is its own beast. This event, dubbed the “Olympic”, exists because someone thought that it was a good idea to put a 1500m swim, 24.8mi bike, and 10k run together. If this wasn’t enough, the sheer number of universities competing in this event was insane. The whole Big 10 Conference, ACC, and several other big-name schools were represented. With over 50 racers, it seemed like the Wisconsin Badgers had brought at least half of their state’s population!

In fact, there were so many in the race that they had to split us into ten heats (five men, five women). I entered the water in heat one and felt like ______. Despite being kicked, punched, pulled, and everything between, I survived the 44.5 (degree)F dash. The bike and run that followed was killer, but the beautiful scenery of the resort made up for it. Well, sorta. My shins weren’t that impressed.

Nonetheless, my sore joints did not detract from the fun I had this weekend. Having the opportunity to compete at such a large-scale race this semester was hands down my favorite part of 4/c year. Despite being the only DIII squad at the race, we certainly held our own. No USCGA bears finished last- some of us set personal best times! And, most importantly, everybody finished (no broken bikes)! We celebrated with a team cookout, plenty of ping pong, and a little bit of (necessary) calculus II homework.

The race slate for the triathlon team this upcoming semester is as ambitious as ever. We have several conference events on the schedule along with a regional competition. If all goes to planned, we should be making our way back to nationals in exactly 365 days. It was great to experience the race once, but these bears are still hungry!

Until next year, Lake Lanier!


Success of Bear’s Hockey

(Athletics, Class of 2021) Permanent link
Ryan Dunkle

Hey guys!

It’s about halfway through my second semester as a 2/c cadet and closing in on the end of the hockey season. We have had our fair share of challenges this year as a club team. First, without a coach running our practices, our captains have been forced to act as player-coaches and plan out and run practices. This has challenged us to find ways to point out our own mistakes, motivate each other, and come together to achieve our goals without the significant help of a coach, at least at practices. At the beginning of the season, there was definitely a difference between the way our team felt than in my last two seasons. Things felt tense and we all felt kind of disconnected from each other, in large part due to the feeling that our captains, who were having to play a very difficult role, were sort of secluded from the team. In our first six games, we lost the same amount of games that we lost all of last season. Things were looking pretty bleak for us, especially since we had far more talent this year than I have seen before.

Fortunately, those kinds of challenges, when faced head-on as a team, can make you stronger than the teams that have never had to face those challenges. We wake up at 4 in the morning every morning to practice, we eat dinner together, and when things were feeling off like they were a teammate and I talked to the captains and we came together as a team to figure things out. All of these extra things that we do bring us closer, and the meeting re-solidified that bond. We didn’t lose another game in the regular season, and in fact, we were beating teams that should’ve been close by blowouts. Oh and we beat our rival Conn-College who is a division higher than us for the first time in over a decade. Our groove has steadily been picking up. Last weekend we had our conference playoffs and we made it to the finals. At the finals, we didn’t finish with the outcome we were hoping for, but we have spent a lot of time looking over our mistakes, and we were fortunate enough to have a parent who coaches step in to help us for two practices. In two weeks, we have our regional tournament which could give us a bid to the national tournament.

All of those challenges at the beginning of the season, seem like a distant memory, but without them, I don’t believe the team would be where it is now. When we need to ramp up the pressure in a game, we have the ability to dig deeper than the other team because we’ve had to work that much harder to follow our hockey passions.

I am looking forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully the next time I write the big bad bears will be heading to Austin, Texas! Go Bears!


You’ll Get The Hang Of It

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Banks Evans

So, it is semester two, and time has flown by so fast! Before I know it, I will be on Eagle and having (hopefully) one of the best summers ever. You hear how tough it is to manage your time here, but you will get the hang of it and be able to enjoy this place. I’ve learned to balance out my work and hanging out with friends nicely.

The spring tennis season is about to start! With that, I’m going to have to adjust my schedule, but I’m excited to compete and represent the Coast Guard in public. The team is heading to Orlando for Spring Break to play some matches. It will definitely be a blast.

It is insane how fast time goes by here. There is always something to do, but that’s what I like about the Academy. Although there is a lot of stress with the loads of work I have, I know I have my friends to help me out. I’ll be there for them too when they need it. It took me a while to understand that everyone really is here to help you succeed and grow as a follower and leader.


A Busy Fall Semester

(Academics, Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Hello readers! Here we are, a little over a month into the Fall Semester. Let’s just say that 3/c year is a huge adjustment. Coming off of the summer, my classmates and I have all lived in the fleet, made new friends, and explored countless new places. Now we saunter through the halls, 4/c traditions of squaring and greeting behind us, as we begin a new journey of our own – that of leadership and self-awareness.

As a Government major, I have begun to really settle into my classes. I have chosen the Politics, Policy, and Law concentration, and I could not be happier. My favorite class at the moment is American Congress. It’s a small class, held in Library every Tuesday and Thursday. I find myself excited for those mornings – drinking my coffee and talking about the workings of our nation’s legislative branch. The class requires lots of reading, campaign speeches, and essays galore. In addition, we have had multiple guest speakers from Congressman Courtney and Senator Blumenthal’s offices. The class has given me such a great opportunity to really dive into my major, plan for possible future internships, and understand what I want to do with my career in the Coast Guard.

In addition to my wonderful classes, the cross country season is in full swing. I am beyond happy to be running in the beautiful New England weather, and as the leaves begin to change color, the temperature is beginning to drop as well. It is such a relaxing, therapeutic form of exercise, and I always enjoy my teammates’ company after a long day of school. Cross country occupies my sports period every day of the week, and I also sing for the Glee Club and Chorale as well. We begin our fun performances soon, from the Coast Guard Foundation Dinner in New York City to performances at Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend. I always look forward to the time spent with my teammates and singing friends.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions! My email is [email protected].


So Far, So Good!

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2021) Permanent link
Ryan Dunkle

Hey everyone! This is officially my first blog post and I’m excited to get to share some of my story. This has been a really great month for me here at the Academy. I’ve been recovering from a surgery for the past 6 months and haven’t played hockey for 7 months, and I finally got cleared to skate just as practices were starting. It has felt really good to get back on the ice, and honestly, being back in the sport I love helps make the Academy more fun. My parents are also coming up for my first weekend of games, so it was perfect timing in getting all healed up. On top of that, I’ve been in a command position this semester, so I get to work a lot with the underclass. It is extremely rewarding to get to work on my own leadership style and figure out who I want to be as a leader, as well as working to help the 3/c and 4/c grow. 4/c year was so influential in my growth as a person, and it is really nice to share some of the lessons that I learned so that the new 4/c can grow even more than I felt that I did!

I hope you all have a fantastic rest of the month! Thank you for taking the time to read my post!


Amazingly Supportive

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
David McCullough

My first semester at the Academy so far has been great. I know we are only about halfway through, but I have already learned so much. After Swab Summer, I assumed this is what the Academy would be like this whole year. This is not the case; everyone has been so helpful and never hesitates to answer a question, even the tough ones. When I was looking for guidance on how to switch my major, I went to many different people. Everyone I asked was very informative and helpful. Even when I am having trouble with academics, there is a variety of outlets to use throughout the day to get the proper help you need. Also, wrestling has just officially started and is much different from preseason. I feel much stronger from our preseason workouts and am ready to take on the challenge of balancing a varsity sport and academics.


Joining the Triathlon Team

(Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Ryan Taylor

Happy fall everyone!

I hope that the start of another academic year has gone smoothly for all. One of the elements of my return to USCGA that made it remarkably enjoyable was joining the Triathlon team. Never having done a triathlon before, I was nervous coming in. I soon realized, though, that the team is a unique mix of cadets of varying classes, genders, majors, and talents. What we all had in common was a desire to have fun while doing triathlons! The team owns several bikes, so not owning a bike did not get in the way of me participating this season. The team meets for practice five days a week during sports period to bike or run, and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to swim. Then, on weekends, we pack our bikes into the team’s trailer and travel to races throughout the Northeast.

For me, races are absolutely the best part. It is usually an early morning, because races often start at 8 am. By 10:00, though, you are done, and it feels great to have already accomplished something with your day. There is often a barbeque after the race for all athletes, so that’s a great way to finish. Given the water component of races and dropping temperature, the season is very short and by October we are done. While I am disappointed to not be competing anymore, I can still bike, run, and swim daily on my own and with teammates to continue to improve for next year.

While the Academy has a remarkably high-performing slate of NCAA teams, there are also many club teams that travel and represent USCGA. I did not know, coming in, that I would join the triathlon team, but I am so glad that I did. I hope this helped give a little bit of a feel for club sports at the Academy. Have a great fall!


Being Part of an Athletic Team

(Academics, Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Ryan Taylor

One of the things that I struggled with most this year was deciding whether I wanted to take part in D-III athletics at the Coast Guard Academy. I wondered if it would be too much of a time commitment, whether I was good enough, and whether I would fit in with a new team.

Throughout high school I was part of the cross country and track and field teams. I have never been a particularly gifted athlete and knew that I wasn’t going to be winning a whole lot of races personally. Rather, I stuck with these teams for four years because of the people I got to spend time with, the friendships I made, and a desire to improve in my events. Athletics was likely the most impactful and valuable part of my high school experience. That said, it was never my plan to continue with track and field in college.

This mindset slowly changed as I got more acclimated to the Academy. Over Swab Summer, coach’s time helped me touch base with the coach and other incoming 4/c, some of whom were recruited to be on the team. During the school year, conversations with upperclassmen helped me realize that participating in a varsity sport was very possible, even though I was not a recruited athlete. Additionally, upperclassmen helped me realize that it was possible to do well academically despite time committed to athletics.

Now, after a season on the track and field team, I am very happy that I made the decision to come out. I improved upon my high school performance. I stayed in good shape. I got an opportunity every day to set school aside and de-stress from the day. Most importantly, though, I had fun and built valuable relationships with teammates who love the sport as I do.

I hope that everyone has a great spring; it’s the best time of the year!