KINGS POINT, N.Y. (April 7, 2017) – This Division III Week, USMMASports.com caught up with two senior captains of their respective teams, A Jordan Pappas (Howell, N.J.) from women's lacrosse and Josh Woodburn (Huntingtown, Md.) from football, to discuss how their decision on choosing to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and play Division III athletics has had on their lives.
Pappas has been a part of the USMMA women's lacrosse program's tremendous growth since arriving to Kings Point back in here plebe year of 2013-14. She was a member of the Mariner team that recorded the program's first win in 2014 and the squad won just one more game in 2015 before turning things around completely with its first winning-season last year, when they finished 8-6. Pappas has played in 29 games over her career, scoring 13 goals and adding two assists for 15 points to go along with 40 draw controls, 39 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers.
Woodburn started his career as a running back for the Mariners back when he was a freshman in 2013. Before the 2015 season, he switched over to the defensive side of the ball as a linebacker and was an integral part of the Merchant Marine defense the past two seasons. He led the Mariners in 2015 with 65 tackles and just this past season, Woodburn helped lead the Mariners to their first winning-season in 13 years by recording 37 tackles.
Below is our Q&A with our two leaders both in the Regiment of Midshipmen here at USMMA and on the athletic fields. Enjoy!
USMMASports.com (KP): What made you choose to come to the Academy?
A Jordan Pappas (AJP): I chose the United States Merchant Marine Academy because of the military structure, the challenge and the post-graduation option. My father went to Kings Point and after listening to his stories about his experiences, the lessons he learned and the friendships he made while at Kings Point, I decided I wanted the same experience for me. A military academy teaches you self-discipline, organization and leadership skills that a normal college cannot offer. Whether a midshipman goes into the sailing industry or active duty in any branch of the military, he/she is fully prepared for whatever comes across their path.
Josh Woodburn (JW): It's not an easy decision to willingly sign up for the disciplined lifestyle and rigorous academic life at any of the five service academies. Still, something about abundant opportunities, both career based and athletically, at the United States Merchant Marine Academy made the school hard to pass up.
KP: What have you learned while here?
AJP: As a senior on the women's lacrosse team, I was named captain for the 2016-17 lacrosse season and the entire year has been a learning experience. From my experience here at Kings Point and being a captain, I am learning to gain confidence in my leadership ability. The training I receive from the regimental side at Kings Point is very beneficial, but lacrosse gives me that chance to put what I've learned to work. The toughest people to lead are your friends and as captain I hit that bump in the road a couple times, but each time it was easier to handle because of the lessons I learned. I am able to take any frustrations building throughout the day and use them to fuel my intensity on the field.
JW: Looking back four years later I can honestly say that accepting my nomination and proceeding to play football here has taught me a lot about who I am as a man. I feel prepared and capable of achieving whatever goal I put my mind too and am lucky enough to now be part of a brotherhood which extends across the globe.
KP: What has been the best part of being a Division III student-athlete?
AJP: Being a part of DIII athletics on the women's lacrosse team has been an escape from the regimented life of the Academy. DIII athletics are the player's time to be normal with each other; no ranking or regimental issues are brought onto the field. Lacrosse has taught me how to work with others, lead them and how to de-stress. As the season continues, I hope to end with more experience and real life exposure to being a leader. And with a Skyline Championship trophy!!
JW: My DIII experience was more than just a sport but an exposure to comradery and achievement that is propelling me into an industry filled with those who came before me. I hope that I am able to utilize and display all the traits bestowed upon me by my coaches, teammates, and teachers throughout my career.
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