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Football helped former Bearcat soar to degree from Annapolis


Working hard to achieve great success is a concept that Aledo High School alum Weston Reese understands well.

A 2020 graduate of AHS who played linebacker on three state championship football teams, Reese implemented the work ethic and lessons he learned as a football player into his college career, and it paid off.

On May 24, Reese will graduate from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, and he said that attending school and playing football at Aledo High School thoroughly prepared him for the rigors of his stint at the Naval Academy.

“The strenuous schedule I maintained as an Aledo football player prepared me the most for the hectic nature of life at the Academy,” Reese said. “At Aledo, during football offseason, I would wake up early for track practice, go to the weight room, then go to five or six periods of classes, and finish out with powerlifting workouts after school. It’s not the exact same, but the timing of starting the day to ending the day is almost the exact same as here.

“Furthermore, the AP classes I took in high school made my freshman year (where you take a lot of foundational classes instead of major courses) pretty easy academically. All in all, the intensity of my routine in high school and the lessons I learned regarding working hard in everything you do at Aledo gave me the foundation I needed to get through the Academy.”

Dream come true

For Reese, 22, attending a service academy has been a lifelong dream.

At the age of 7, he went to an Air Force/California college football game and was awestruck by the cadets in their uniforms.

“It was then that I decided that was what I wanted to do,” Reese said. “As I got older, I gained interest in both the Air Force and the Naval Academy. Ultimately, I fell in love with Annapolis and the people I met during a tour of USNA. I never even finished my application to the Air Force Academy.”

It is a long and strenuous application process to the Naval Academy, which includes essays, requesting letters of recommendation, completing physical tests, passing several medical screenings, and ultimately culminating with an interview with at least one member of Congress and his/her staff.

“The final requirement to be considered for acceptance is a nomination from your district’s House representative, a senator, the vice-president, or the president,” Reese said. “I received a nomination from my House representative, the Honorable Kay Granger. After receiving the nomination, the hardest part was to just wait and see if the Academy decided to offer an appointment.”

Reese did receive an appointment and said that getting accepted felt like a huge accomplishment, “as if I was taking my first real adult steps outside of Aledo.”


He also realized that while he may have been accepted, making it through to commissioning would be an entirely new challenge.

“The Academy is designed to be challenging in all aspects,” Reese said. “Mixing academics with military and physical requirements creates a very full schedule every day of the week. Whether it’s going to briefs, formations, working out to pass the physical readiness test, training for a community’s screener, and/or playing for a (NCAA) D1 sports team, there is always something you need to do accompanied by the feeling of not having enough time to do it.”

And there have been other challenges along the way.

His freshman year, for instance, he was hospitalized and lived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the majority of his first semester, recovering from an injury he received.

“Getting to where I could commission and play sports again was easily the hardest and most grueling experience I faced,” Reese said. “Fighting through setbacks and trying to recover while still attending engineering classes and developing myself as a future officer felt like an uphill battle, and there was a period of time when I wasn’t sure I was going to win.”

More football

Reese was a member of the Navy Sprint League team, which, according to the Collegiate Sprint Football League website is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 178.0 pounds or less.

“Luckily, I had a lot of people who helped me along the way including my family, friends, girlfriend, and teammates that I leaned on and made it to where I am today,” Reese said.

Following college, Reese will work as a Surface Warfare Officer in San Diego aboard the USS Mustin. After two years, he will then go to Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC for 13 months and will then be stationed aboard a carrier “somewhere in the world.”


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