Vt. young adults nominated to attend military academies
By David Taube
STAFF WRITER | December 30,2012
Mark Collier / Staff Photo
Nicole Pierpont of Chelsea shakes hands with Sen. Patrick Leahy at a ceremony Saturday honoring this year’s nominees to U.S. service academies. Leahy nominated Pierpont to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.
MONTPELIER — High school senior Kenneth Tomlinson went from a military academy physical test Saturday morning to a ceremony recognizing potential military academy students at the state capitol that afternoon.
The annual ceremony is for young adults nominated by Vermont’s congressional delegation, and the physical test helps military academy admissions officials in their selection process.
The delegation of Rep. Peter Welch and Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders nominated 20 young adults this year, informing them of their nomination in early December.
About four or five of those earn appointments to military academies each year.
“I wish you could all be (there),” Leahy said. “This is a great start.”
Fourteen nominees attended the ceremony Saturday with Welch and Leahy.
Nominees could hear back from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., at the beginning of the year.
Decisions are due by April 15.
Tomlinson, of Huntington in Chittenden County near Camel’s Hump State Park, took the physical test in November. But like college-bound high school students taking the SATs, he wanted to improve his scores.
Not being in as good shape from his basketball season as compared to his recent soccer season, he was unable to break a 6-minute mile, his target time, he said. That is one of the physical test’s six exercises, which progressively build upon each other. He finished in 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Having worked out at The Edge fitness center, though, where the test was held, he boosted his sit-ups to 60 and push-ups to 50, both of which were previously in the 30s. Another event involves a one-handed basketball throw over one’s shoulder from the floor; Tomlinson improved his distance from 57 feet to 61 feet.
He said he may take the test again in order to officially run the mile in less than 6 minutes, which he’s done previously.
Tomlinson was the first student from Trinity Baptist School in Williston ever to receive a nomination, he said. The school was founded in 1974.
Mitchell Magarian of Manchester attended the event for a second time. He was nominated previously by Vermont’s congressional delegates, but did not receive an appointment.
Undeterred, he spent a year at The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., that once trained soldiers for the Confederate army.
His buzz cut, still short from his first year, was longer than ever, he said.
First-year students at The Citadel are known as “knobs” for their short hair, and as part of their program, they are frequently tested on Knob Knowledge at 6 a.m. in their barracks.
Despite also studying chemistry and math during his first year, Magarian recalled with a smile how he was frequently afraid of missing a question during morning rounds.