The military has been a part of Will Humphrys' life for as long as he can recall, so it's no surprise that he plans to attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Humphrys is one of three senior members of the St. Charles wrestling program to receive an appointment to West Point. The others are Caleb Kish and Andrew Sarff. A fourth, Declan Cooper, is waiting for his appointment to come through.
"Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a part of the military," said Humphrys, who competes at 182 pounds and has a 3.9 GPA. "I grew up in a military family so it's kind of ingrained. Both of my grandfathers and my father were in the military. One of my grandfathers was a grad of the Naval Academy and I have an uncle that was a West Point grad.
"Ever since then, I have wanted to have the opportunity to serve. I didn't know what the military academies or ROTC had to offer until my freshman year (at St. Charles), but once I saw that I set my sights on it. I knew I wanted to develop as a leader through that militaristic training and experience. I also will have the opportunity to give back and serve my country."
Kish may go to West Point or perhaps the Naval Academy. He said he expects a response from that branch around April 15.
"It's kind of been my goal since right around the fifth, sixth grade, and it's the highest thing that I have been working toward," said Kish, a 160-pounder who has a 3.9 GPA. "Basically, everything that I have done in high school, all the hard work I have put in, has been centered around getting into the military. It feels good to be able to achieve that."
Sarff is in his first season with the Cardinals, competing at 145. He said if he doesn't go to West Point, he will enroll in ROTC at the University of Notre Dame.
"Getting the appointment to West Point is really kind of the culmination of a goal that I started out with when I was in the eighth grade," said Sarff, who has a 4.1 GPA. "That's when I visited the U.S. Air Force Museum (near) Dayton and that's when I started thinking about joining the military.
"Both of my grandfathers were in the Army and I grew up hearing stories from them of being in the Army. That and I have a really strong interest in and I'm also a big reader of military history. All of those interests have combined toward me setting out to get an appointment."
Cooper expects to get his appointment soon from West Point, but if not he expects to enroll in the ROTC program at Indiana. He said wrestling is an important step toward success in military life.
"I started wrestling in the seventh grade and since the beginning, it's been about humbling yourself and driving yourself to participate in things you may not want to," said Cooper, who competes at 170 and has a 3.4 GPA. "It gives you a sense of drive and inner-discipline that I think can allow you to handle any task.
"I think wrestling is something people look at from the outside as something that you wouldn't want to do. Over time it allows you to take on tasks that you wouldn't have thought you would be able to do."
The Cardinals begin the Division I postseason with a sectional Saturday, Feb. 29, at Newark. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
Wrestling has been a means to an end for Humphrys.
"Wrestling has been great because you get to fall in love with the process and the hard work that it requires," he said. "It also helps you to be mentally and physically in pain and ignore it, push past it and will yourself through those kinds of things. You don't tap out when there is something that you don't want to do. Having pushed through those things has been very helpful."
Swimmers vie at state meet
The 200-yard medley relay and sophomore Spencer Aurnou-Rhees reached the podium in the Division I state swimming and diving meet Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Senior Thomas Lennox, junior Mitchell List, senior Alex Nash and junior Chase Bateman swam on the seventh-place 200 medley relay (1 minute, 33.99 seconds).
Aurnou-Rhees placed fifth in the 200 individual medley (1:49.94) and tied Dublin Jerome's Carson Smith for 12th in the 500 freestyle (4:39.25).
"I felt like I did pretty well. I'm so grateful to be here for my team and my family. I think the hard work has paid off," Aurnou-Rhees said. "I think our team has done pretty well, especially coming off district."
The Cardinals finished 10th (78 points) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (310) as 53 teams scored.
Aurnou-Rhees also was a member of two relays that reached the consolation finals. He joined junior Lukas Rakowsky, Nash and Bateman on the ninth-place 200 free relay (1:26.18) and was on the 12th-place 400 free relay (3:09.85) with Bateman, sophomore Ben Stevenson and Nash.
Junior Will Elsrod placed 13th in the 100 breaststroke (57.75) and 17th in the 200 IM (1:55.03).
Nash was 18th in the 100 butterfly (51.52), and Lennox was 18th in the 100 backstroke (51.69). Stevenson placed 22nd in the 200 free (1:44.1), and Bateman finished 24th in the 100 free (48.04).
St. Charles was runner-up (313) in the district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State behind Upper Arlington (381.5) and scored 473 points in the CCL meet Jan. 25 at home to capture its 22nd consecutive league title.
Foresta to bowl at district tourney
Vinnie Foresta will represent the bowling team in the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 29, at HP Lanes.
The senior rolled a 561 three-game series to finish 26th of 270 participants in the sectional Feb. 21 at HP Lanes. He was the sixth of 16 individual qualifiers to district.
The Cardinals (3,244) finished 26th of 47 teams behind champion Reynoldsburg (3,991). Groveport (3,498) earned the 16th and final district berth.
Dino Colasurd (503, tied for 75th) and Teague O'Brien (465, tied for 109th) also rolled three games for St. Charles.