By Kathy Eastwood, U.S. Military Academy Public AffairsSeptember 12, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 12, 2012) -- Forty-two cadet captains from 42 competitive club sports teams were honored Sept. 7 at Washington Hall to recognize the accomplishments and dedication of their leadership. Cadet competitive sports clubs are not as well known as football, soccer and various other corps squad sport teams.
"We felt we wanted to show the rest of the Corps of Cadets what these clubs could do because they don't get the publicity that varsity teams receive," Maj. Beth Merrigan, Department of Physical Education instructor and officer-in-charge of the Competitive Sports program, said.
The cadet captains each received a silver Centurion Pin resembling a Roman Centurion helmet, which has a horizontal red crest on the top. Centurions in ancient Rome were Soldiers who were awarded the rank of Centurion based on their strength, size and skills, as well as years of dedicated military service. They also commanded 100 men.
One cadet team captain who received a pin was Class of 2013 Giovanna Camacho, captain of the Women's Boxing Team.
"I can tell you that I feel very honored to be receiving the Centurion Pin as I feel like I am accepting the pin and wearing it to represent not only our current team, but those female boxers from years past," Camacho said. "They aspired to box, but did not have the opportunity or privilege to be part of a Women's Boxing Team here at West Point.
"These past years have been a struggle for our team as we have had to overcome a lot of adversity to our program and although we still have many more obstacles to face, I know that this pin is a small symbol representing our greatest struggle of finally achieving acceptance as a competitive sport," she added.
Camacho said she grew to love boxing and got the chance to try it when she was in high school working long hours at the gym to help her single foster mom pay bills.
"My boss came up to me and asked me if I would be interested in kickboxing," she said. "This opportunity was one of a lifetime as my boss knew I couldn't afford to attend classes, but allowed me to come for free and led me to my first victory."
Camacho said she loves the feeling of a challenge and boxing provides that challenge of never quitting.
"It's a way of survival as your body learns to become comfortable in any fighting situation," she said.
Class of 2014 Cadet Chris Price, captain of the climbing club, received his second Centurion Pin.
"It is a great honor to be receiving the pin for the second year in a row," Price said. "It is always a good feeling when your teammates vote you to be the captain and their leader. I got interested in climbing when I lived in Colorado and was hiking in the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs and looking up at the enormous 300-foot rock features, saw people climbing and thought that was pretty cool and made it my goal to do that some day. I joined a club in high school and since then, I've been hooked on the thrill that outdoor rock climbing has brought and the dedication to always better myself by training as often as I can."
Price said climbing is more than just a sport for him now.
"It's a lifestyle and I can honestly say that without climbing in my life, I would not be the leader that I am today."
The Centurion Ceremony began with former Commandant of Cadets Maj. Gen. William Rapp four years ago to honor those leaders in the competitive sports clubs and to amplify Gen. Douglas MacArthur's quote "On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruit of victory."