Missouri Military Academy junior Jacob Priester ’14, of Maumelle, Ark., offered a fantastic showing at this year’s Missouri Class 2 District 2 Wrestling Championship at St. Charles West High School. Competing in the 195-pound weight class and seeded third, Jacob got off to a rough start Friday, losing by pin in the first round. After receiving a bye in the first round of the consolation bracket, he went on to win his all three following matches by pin, earning third place overall in the tournament. Priester’s next match is Thursday at Mizzou Arena in the MSHSAA Class 2 Wrestling Championships, where he will square off against Devon Overall of Monett High School in his first match.
by Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Columnist
I see a lot of new boys come into the Corps of Cadets throughout the year. Just last year I was one of the new boys that came in the middle of the year. I enrolled at MMA right after the Christmas break. A lot of cadets say that the cadets that come in the middle of the year miss all of the hard times, but that is not always the case.
It can be harder to transfer schools, especially socially, because everyone has already established friends from the beginning of the year. Many cadets are reluctant to willingly accept the “new boy” into their social circle. I personally have experienced being the “new kid” at other schools and at other public schools – it can be difficult to make friends. I only had hours a day to get to know those individuals, but at MMA you have the experience of living here, so you get to know your fellow MMA cadets quite well.
Another reason it is tough being a mid-year student is making huge adjustments. The pressure of adapting to the cadet life on campus can be very tough overall. It can be even tougher if you are the only one learning the ropes while everyone else already knows how things go. But there will always be someone there to help you out, like your leaders. At the same time, many of the leaders should remember that the new boys are learning all of these things and, just as it is at the beginning of the year, we have to be patient with them.
Cadets that come in the middle of the year may sometimes be instantly assumed as ‘bad kids’ – maybe there is a reason why they were sent at MMA halfway through the year. We have seen that is not always the case. There are a number of reasons students enroll halfway through the year. It could have been from bad grades, to learn time management, or just wanted to pursue a serious career in the military. All in all, cadets that show up in the middle of the year aren’t always the “bad kids.” One senior I spoke with said, “There is no such thing as a bad kid. There are just good kids that have made bad decisions or has been living in a bad environment.” Let’s do our best to welcome these boys into the Corps of Cadets and help them along in their new journey.
Blake Gorman is a senior cadet from Wentzville, Mo. He plans to attend North Georgia College and State University with the intention of joining its Corps of Cadets.
For the first time, a Missouri Military Academy cadet shares a lofty status alongside 15,000 other U.S. high school students. Nischal Khanal ’13 was notified of the announcement at lunch today. Khanal was named a National Merit Semifinalist in September and had been awaiting news. He scored in the top one-third of the original 50,000 high scorers to achieve Semifinalist status.
According to the organization, Khanal’s abilities, skills, and accomplishments will determine if he is selected to receive a Merit Scholarship. National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) selectors will also evaluate Khanal’s academic record, two sets of test scores, information about his school involvement, and a personal essay, among other criteria.
Khanal is now in the running to be one of 8,300 Finalists that will be selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award. Beginning next month and continuing to mid-June, NMSC will alert the winners.
One Missouri Military Academy senior will be suiting up as a student athlete when he attends college this fall. Nick Vanatta ’13, of Monkey Island, Okla., signed his commitment paperwork to play football for Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Vanatta has been recruited as a wide receiver by the coaching staff of the Alva, Okla. college, where he is planning to major in criminology.
He built up an impressive collection of accomplishments this fall as a Fighting Colonel. Vanatta was named to the Missouri Class 3 District 6 First-Team All-District squad after his performance during district play. The honor was the culmination of a very complete season for Vanatta, who hauled in 31 catches for 514 yards and two scores in 2012. In addition to leading the team in total offense, he also recorded 36 tackles, 24 assisted tackles, and two interceptions on the defensive side of the football.
A versatile, two-way player, Vanatta was selected by head coach LT Marc Wilson as the team’s most valuable offensive player for the 2012 season.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach and mentor Nick,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to see him reach his potential both as an athlete and a young man at Northwestern under Coach [Alan] Hall.”
MMA coaches were not the only ones to notice his skills on the football field. Wilson accompanied Vanatta to Houston after he was selected to play in the 2012 Offense-Defense Can-Am All-American Bowl held in December. After participating in several camps leading up to the invitation, his offensive bursts and defensive prowess earned him a spot to play alongside the best high school players in the nation.
Athletic Director CPT John Noel was right there with Wilson and Vanatta as he carefully inked his signature on each document.
“Nick had not really played football until last season, but through hard work and determination both in the classroom and on the field, combined with the guidance of our football staff, Nick achieved his goal of playing football at the next level,” Noel said.
“We want to continue the tradition of putting our athletes in a position to achieve their highest potential, but more importantly the tradition of training our athletes to be great men, citizens, husbands, and fathers.”
Just two months later, Vanatta’s focus is now on conditioning for the fall.
“I’m excited to get started,” he said. “I’ll do training this spring and over the summer when I’m back in Oklahoma, but once August comes around I’ll have to really step up my game and work hard in camp.”
Vanatta was congratulated by his fellow cadets after the announcement was made at lunch Wednesday.
Missouri Military Academy’s World War II re-enactment group, the Railsplitters, traveled to rural western Missouri for a weekend re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge. LTC Tim Scherrer, Railsplitters coordinator, provided an account of the weekend’s events from both an MMA and a World War II soldier’s perspective. Click the link in the story to see more photos from the weekend.
“The Railsplitters Living History Company participated in the 2013 Battle of the Bulge recreation at Camp Clark near Nevada, MO. The event was held January 18-20 and had near perfect weather for January, although it is odd not having snow on the ground for a Battle of the Bulge recreation.
Overall the company fielded 29 troops, including two rifle squads, a scout/sniper section, and a support element. We had 13 MMA cadets and two Mexico High School JROTC cadets. One squad was lead by Illinois State Army ROTC Cadet Art Avery and the second, MMA alumnus Kyle Hughes ’12. Kyle is transferring to Marion Military Institute this summer and attending Army ROTC leader training camp, so he is pursuing a commissions as an officer too. Also attending was former MMA student Jordan Uthe.
The company did four missions. The first was a movement to contact although the enemy had already occupied the crossroads so it became a hasty attack. We were able to push the Germans off the objective quickly by using high ground with Art’s one squad and Kyle led a terrific flanking movement that pinned the Germans against a barrier. The second mission we defended a town and hilltop. We were destined to lose by the scoring system, but the company gave a good accounting of itself. Tyler Grogan ’13 as the designated marksman was able to barricade the road leading into our position through sniper fire. The third mission was to recover a downed parachute of supplies. The victor got a box of Hershey bars. We found the parachute in 17 minutes, much to the dismay of the umpires who gave the mission 90 minutes. The final missions was an attack on a bridge in which Kyle’s squad gained some key high ground which dominated the bridge, causing resistance to collapse quickly. By the end of the day, we had humped about 8 miles and were glad to be off our feet.
On Saturday night we had a visit by “‘Splitterclaus.” The Battle of the Bulge was fought during Christmas 1944. I had 84th vet Allen Howerton state he had a similar visit on Thanksgiving of 1944 from a Santa who brought him his Thanksgiving meal in Germany. We also watched two period films, Buck Privates and This is the Army. We all believe that the star of This is Army, Reagan, will never amount to much of anything but a B film actor.
Overall I was very proud of the cadets, and the company overall. We performed very well in the field and did many things that re-enacting units never do, like serve hot chow in the field. They set the standard and we received many compliments on the Railsplitters’ performance and authenticity. The only complaint I received was they weren’t very quick to take hits and die in the field…and I am OK with that.
A big thanks to MAJ Mike Shoemaker and Paul Petit, Sr. for being such a help on the trip. Cadet Hugh Harris ’15 took all the pictures and did a great job with them.
PROUD TO BE A RAILSPLITTER!”
The Commandant’s office issued Special Order #36 at Sunday’s Missouri Military Academy Battalion Review announcing the winners of the January Soldier’s Bar. Here is the text:
“For outstanding military courtesy, neatness, bearing and attitude, as well as performance of duty, the following cadets are awarded the Soldier’s Bar: Jose Bours ’14, Vincent Burke ’15, Francisco Del Rio ’13, Tyler Grogan ’13, David Gu ’16, Javier Ibanez ’14, Ivan Quiroz ’14, Gabriel Rodriguez ’14, Paolo Rosado ’14, Jon Snyder ’16, Eduardo Valenzo ’13, and Rodrigo Vilches ’15.”
Seven Missouri Military Academy cadets recently participated in a workshop dealing with international issues with other area students. Those seven, who all hail from different countries of the world, shared their experiences of being an international student studying in the United States, and also educated the others about the culture and background of their home nation. Dean of Academics LTC Frank Giuseffi said the event was an opportunity for MMA cadets to share a global experience with their peers in the community.
Congratulations to those Missouri Military Academy middle school wrestlers who recently posted fantastic results! The Junior Fighting Colonels traveled to Centralia to take on other area squads in a tournament over the weekend. Top MMA finishers included Charlie Norman ’17 (2nd place) and Carlos Ramos ’17, Clayton Ebert ’17 and Pablo Garza ’19 (3rd place). Norman finished the day with three pins and Ramos recorded two pins. Ebert and newcomer Garza each had one pin on the day. Head coaches MAJ Richards Boyce and LT Edsel Baker added that the team represented MMA very well on the road. Way to go, middle school grapplers!
Over the years the participation in one major event at the state level has become sort of a tradition at Missouri Military Academy. Cadets have always marched in the gubernatorial inauguration parade in Jefferson City, Mo. This year, the MMA Battalion Staff, Color Guard, and Band displayed their parade skills for re-elected Missouri governor Jay Nixon.
The band followed the staff and Color Guard, playing military tunes. Band director CPT Josh Yancey and 1SG Alan Hakes accompanied the group for the parade, which snaked through downtown Jefferson City before passing the Missouri State Capitol building where the Governor’s reviewing stand was located (below).
While the Missouri Military Academy varsity soccer Fighting Colonels may have come up short during this year’s postseason run, the team earned accolades for another type of performance on the field.
At its first annual banquet Saturday, January 5, members of the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association (MSHSSCA) awarded the 2012 Fighting Colonels the Team Sportsmanship Award after displaying outstanding examples of honorable and respectable play on the pitch.
MMA was one of four finalists for this year’s award, which is voted by high school soccer coaches from all around the state. Canton High School, Duchesne High School, and Lutheran South High School were also nominated. The finalists receive votes by member schools from all member schools from Missouri Classes 1, 2, and 3.
Head coach CPT Eric Reynolds says he received numerous compliments about his players from a number of coaches at the banquet.
When receiving the award, Reynolds said Chris Miller, head coach of Colonels’ district rival Southern Boone approached him and said, “I faced this team three times this season and I have seen them win with dignity, lose with dignity, and treat their opponents with the utmost respect every time they set foot on the pitch regardless of the outcome. MMA’s soccer program is a class act and stands out more than any team in the state.”
Fatima head coach Kirby Keith added, “[the] boys have done an amazing job turning around the soccer program at MMA. They are very deserving of this award and represent everything the sport of soccer is about. Please congratulate them on my behalf.”
The honor is just the latest public recognition of MMA soccer players. Last month, the MSHSSCA named seniors Jose Garcia ’13 and Jesus Gonzalez ’13 as honorable mentions to the Missouri Class 1 All-State team.
Each year, Missouri Military Academy cadets compete as companies to see who can show the most spirit for the holidays through barracks decorations. After a few weeks of continuous additions to the displays, Echo Company was voted by the Commandant’s staff as the Best Decorated Company. Echo cadets celebrated all the ways different cultures observe holidays around this time of year. Signs of “Merry Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “Joyeux Noel” adorned the front lawn of Echo Company, as well as a menorah crafted to show the importance of Hanukkah to the Hebrew and Jewish culture.
A new feature of this year’s contest included Missouri Military Academy’s Facebook page and the school’s fans online. Students in the Eagle class posted photos of each barracks on the page asking fans to ‘like’ their favorite holiday decorations. After three days of cyber deliberations, Bravo Company’s photo album tallied 126 ‘likes,’ earning them the People’s Choice for Best Decorated Barracks.
For more holiday photos from the MMA campus, head to our Flickr page.
Cadets spent the month of December collecting food donations for the less fortunate of mid-Missouri. The Corps ended up gathering 3,000 cans of food, or roughly 2,700 pounds, for the Central Missouri Food Bank.
Seven Missouri Military Academy Fighting Colonels football players were recognized this week for being named to Missouri’s All-Academic Team. Just under 2,000 Missouri football players won awards for their performance on the athletic field. Only 300 earned the Academic All-State Award – with seven being MMA Fighting Colonels. Congratulations!
Academic All-State Award winners include (pictured left to right):
Front row: Aubrey Davidson ’14, Guangning Wei ’15, Paul Petit ’14
Middle row: Nick Mabbs ’14, Jesus Herrera ’14, Blake Bibles ’13, Jacob Priester ’14