ROTC student athletes carry dual obligations


For few students at UVM, the job of being a student athlete is mixed with the responsibility that comes from being an ROTC cadet.

There are currently four students that both play a varsity sport and are ROTC cadets: sophomore Kyle Walsh on men’s lacrosse, seniors Heidi Peterson and Ed Simon on the women’s and men’s track and field teams, as well as sophomore Will Hopkins of the cross-country team.

Peterson said ROTC and varsity sports have a lot in common and notes the friendships she has made with members of both groups.

“I would say that there are more similarities than differences in my relationships with my [track and field] teammates and my fellow ROTC cadets. ROTC tends to be more divided by class than the track team. But both relationships involve communication and teamwork,” she said.

Simon views the relationships within the groups differently.

“The bond with track and field teammates comes from a daily commitment to doing what we love, it is a friendship. My relationship with cadets has a profound feeling of trust and honor,” Simon said.

The cadets acknowledged the difficulty with being part of two time-intensive programs.

“The army standards ask for time commitment on a bi-daily basis in physical training],” Simon said. “This is a huge problem because track practices are draining and doing any more than the workouts made by coaches is too much on the body and easily burns out an athlete.”

“Meanwhile, not being with all the cadets each PT session makes one seem like they lack commitment,” he said.

A multi-event athlete for the track and field team, Simon most recently took gold in the men’s heptathlon at the America East indoor track and field championship at the Armory in New York.

“Doing ROTC while being an athlete has been the best decision I have made for my college career,” Peterson said.