Connect with us


REALIZING A DREAM: Keystone Senior Samuel Hunsberger Turns Hectic Schedule Into Spot at United States Military Academy at West Point

KNOX, Pa (EYT/D9) — For years, Samuel Hunsberger has had a singular goal.

To be accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point.

(Pictured above, Keystone senior Samuel Hunsberger holds up his acceptance to the United States Military Academy at West Point)

Just about everything the Keystone senior has done has been in pursuit of that aim, from his studies, to the sports he plays, to his eclectic endeavors in the community, such as becoming a volunteer fire fighter for two companies.

It’s a beyond-hectic schedule, but one Hunsberger relishes.

“Every day I wish there were more hours in a day,” he said.

The four-sport athlete at Keystone, who is also in the ski club, spark club, student government, National Honor Society, the vice president of the Callensburg Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the Knox Volunteer Fire Department, finally got the news he has been waiting to hear.

Heeter Lumber Logo 2 (1)
Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Heather Bickel from Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson’s office phoned Hunsberger while he was in musical practice on Jan. 23. Hunsberger missed the call, but immediately contacted her.

She delivered the good news.

“She’s my contact for pretty much everything West Point. She was like, ‘Has anybody called or emailed you today about anything?’ I said, ‘No. Is everything all right?’ Hunsberger said. “She said, ‘So nobody’s told you anything? No news? Nothing? Well, I’m happy to be the first one to tell you that you’ve been accepted in the United States Military Academy.’

“It was unbelievable,” he added. “I don’t cry much, but I walked back into musical practice and was tearing up a little. People were asking me if anything was wrong and I said I got accepted. Everyone just started yelling.”

Hunsberger certainly made sure he had a full resumé to be considered for West Point.

He never shies away from a chance to challenge himself.

This year, he decided to tackle a fourth sport, adding competitive spirit to his full slate of football, track and field and baseball.

West Point loves people who are multi-sport athletes, Hunsberger said.

“It’s been my goal for a few years now to go to the United States Military Academy, and lettering in sports is a big thing that they like, so I figured I’d come out and do it,” he said. “When I started, the big thing was I wanted another letter, but I joined and had so much fun with it. Quite honestly, out of the four sports that I played, this is my favorite sport.”

There were considerable growing pains for Hunsberger in his newest pursuit, however.

It was unlike anything he had ever done before — and he has the bruises to prove it.

“I’ve gotten a bloody nose three times,” he said, smiling. “I have to catch people and sometimes they’ll literally fall on my face.”

Beyond the physical pains, there were also the mental ones he had to tackle.

He admitted he wasn’t initially prepared for just how mentally demanding competitive spirit is.

“The hardest thing was just breaking out of my comfort zone because I’m not used to playing a sport with all girls,” Hunsberger said. “That was definitely a big part of it. But it’s a mentally tough sport. It’s not as physical as football, but you have to remember the counts, you have to do everything on time or you’re not going to be able to do what you want to do.

“It’s similar to football in mentally training yourself for weeks in advance to get ready. At the beginning of the season, I’d say it’s even more intense than football because you’re really cramming and trying to make sure it’s right.”

On the football field, Hunsberger was a middle linebacker and fullback for Keystone. In the spring, he will be an outfielder for the Panthers’ baseball team, as well as a mid-distance runner and pole vaulter for the track and field team at the school.

When he’s not playing sports or involved in the myriad of clubs and activities at Keystone, Hunsberger is slipping on his firefighting gear for the fire companies in Callensburg and Knox.

He decided to volunteer initially because of how it would look to West Point. Then he fell in love with it.

“Part of it was West Point, but, I mean, it’s every kid’s dream to be a firefighter,” Hunsberger said. “It just got in my head and was rattling around in there and I kept thinking about it. I thought it would look amazing on applications.”

Hunsberger has yet to be in a burning building fighting a blaze. He is mostly dispatched for traffic control.

“Sometimes directing traffic can be more dangerous,” he said, grinning.

Hunsberger will leave for the United States Military Academy on July 1.

He’s already counting down the days to realizing his dream.

“It’s just kind of surreal still at this point,” he said. “This is something I’ve been waiting a long time for.”

Heeter Lumber Logo 2 (1)
Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.