Kings Point, NY – 1/C Michael Ackerman (Malvern, PA) and 2/C Christopher Anthony (Cleveland, OH) have been shining examples of how to balance academics, athletics, and regimental life at the United States Merchant Marine Academy since stepping foot onto the Kings Point campus.
USMMA Athletics continues its recognition of Division-III week by highlighting these two outstanding midshipman student-athletes. The purpose of the week-long celebration is to call attention to the activities and accomplishments of student-athletes throughout Division-III athletics. The initiative has been guided by a strategic-positioning platform describing Division-III as a place where student-athletes can "follow their passions and develop their potential."
As members of the Merchant Marine men's lacrosse team, Ackerman has been a perennial Gold Star* Recipient since his Plebe year, while Anthony has accumulated a total of seven Gold Stars and one Silver Star** in his eight trimesters at the academy.
Both have also been honored with additional recognition as Ackerman was the recipient of the 2012 Richard A. Simpson Scholarship sponsored by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) and Anthony received the O'Gara Academic Scholarship Award upon his first return from sea in November of 2011.
Additionally, Anthony was also awarded a Sea Year Ribbon^ upon completing his second tour of sailing in November of 2012.
The life of a midshipman is incredibly demanding, however, adding in the commitment to an NCAA Division-III athletic program raises their obligations tremendously. "Time management is vital when trying to excel in both sports and athletics," noted Ackerman. "When you get back to the barracks you have to be able to focus on work even if you had a bad game. There's a balance between athletics and academics that you have to find."
Although the circumstances may be difficult at times, Ackerman praised his fellow midshipmen student-athletes, "Anyone who has been a student-athlete at the end of their USMMA career should be proud of themselves; knowing they took on an extra commitment and still made it work, regardless of their GPA."
Along with his academic, athletic, and regimental responsibilities, Anthony also serves as a volunteer EMT both on campus and in the Village of Great Neck. "Becoming an EMT has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," said Anthony. "Helping others when they are unable to help themselves is truly a pleasure and I enjoy every second of it. I am very grateful to the academy for both providing me with my training and allowing myself and other members of the USMMA EMS Squad to ride along as EMTs with the local fire department."
Hundreds of thousands of young men and women across the United States know what it's like to manage time between classes and sports, however, only a small percentage of those who attend Federal Service Academies also experience the regimental aspect of campus life.
"Tradition at USMMA is very important," noted Ackerman. "There are certain values and experiences that are passed down from one class to another." Anthony also added, "Kings Point leaves its mark on every midshipmen in a distinct way and I think that's what makes us unique; but it also unites us as well."
This June, Michael Ackerman will be graduating with a degree in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation and in 2014 Christopher Anthony will be graduating with a degree in Marine Operations and Technology. Both have their goals set high as Ackerman plans on sailing in the tanker or drilling industry, while Anthony hopes to become an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officer (EOD) in the United States Navy.
Both midshipmen expressed similar sentiments about the way they've grown as people thought their time at Kings Point. "My experience at the academy as a midshipman and as an athlete has taught me that I am more mentally tough than I once thought I was," said Anthony. "Without my coaches, teammates, and the support system that lacrosse and the academy have provided, I would not have evolved into who I am today."
*Gold Stars are awarded to midshipmen with a grade point average of 3.50 or higher for a given trimester.
**Silver Stars are awarded to midshipmen with a grade point average of 3.25-3.49 for a given trimester.
^Sea Year Ribbons are awarded to midshipmen with a grade point average of 3.7 or higher on Sea Projects.
Division-III is the largest division within the NCAA and includes 446 member institutions and 43 voting conferences, which comprises 40 percent of the NCAA's total membership. NCAA Division III week will be celebrated across the country, fans can follow @NCAADIII and use #D3Week for more information.