Cecil teen nominated to West Point

Leader photo by Amy Weaver

Bonduel High School senior Zach Sumnicht was recently nominated by Rep. Mark Green for appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. He is the first BHS student to achieve such an honor. This school display case houses the accomplishments of the football teams he played on and the individual honors he earned, including membership to the 1,000 Yard Club.

By Amy Weaver

Leader Reporter

BONDUEL Zach Sumnicht is the type of guy, friends and family say, anybody would want on their team.

That includes the U.S. Army.

Sumnicht hopes this will earn him a chance to "be all he can be" for the next nine years. Rep. Mark Green (R-Green Bay) recently nominated the Cecil teen for appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Although being successful at a demanding military academy such as West Point, Sumnicht isn't worried and neither are the people who know him.

"He is very goal-oriented and very determined," said Bonduel High School wrestling coach Chris Rank. "He prepares himself to win with determination."

It's that fire that pushes Sumnicht to strive as both a student and an athlete, and it's what family members and school officials said makes him ideal for the academy.

"He is most deserving (of the nomination). He's a winner in every respect," said principal Bill LaChapell. "It's rare for an individual to be so talented, but be so genuinely kind and caring to students and staff. He's going to make it a long way."

Besides being an top athlete and an A-student at Bonduel, Sumnicht is the first student from BHS to receive such a nomination and the first person in the Sumnicht family to go to college, let alone a U.S. military academy.

Sumnicht, 18, is the son of Dan and Dawn Sumnicht of Cecil and older brother to Amber, 17 and Thomas, 11.

"We're excited for him," said Sumnicht's father, Dan. "He's worked hard for this. He set these goals for himself when he got to high school and now he's achieving them."

Green's nomination gets Sumnicht to the door of the academy. But he must still be appointed. Ahead of him are a series of physical and mental tests, after which the academy will make its final appointments.

Sumnicht said if he is appointed to West Point, he plans to study to be an FBI or CIA agent after completing the mandatory minimum of five years of military service after graduation. If not, he'll likely attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point or UW-Madison to study physical education.

Bonduel football coach, Jim Christman, said Sumnicht is the kind of person that's just right for West Point.

"He's a quiet leader. He just shows by example," Christman said. "He's the kind of player that any coach at any level would want because he gives all he's got."

In his years at BHS, Sumnicht played varsity football and earned honors for All-Conference linebacker, second team running back, All-Area Honorable Mention, and a member of the 1,000 Yard Club with over 1,000 rushing. He also wrestled, ran track and played Legion baseball in the summers.

Sumnicht attributed his success, especially rushing over 1,000 yards to his teammates on the offensive line, but football coach Jim Christman said Sumnicht accomplished so much by showing others to work hard at the game.

"He gives 1,000 percent in games, practice, the off-season, in every sport he does," he said. "I would love to have him back again. He's one of those kids you don't want to see graduate."

Christman and Dan Sumnicht agreed that Zach wasn't blessed with the athletic talents for all three sports, but he has developed the ability to succeed in them with a lot of extra hard work.

Although some may doubt Sumnicht's ability to make it on the Army football team because he is not the biggest of players, the young man said he has enough confidence and determination to try to cut it with the big boys.

West Point is a tough college, Sumnicht said, but he feels he can handle the challenge just like he has other obstacles in his young life, like when he broke his leg playing football his freshman year.

The doctor told him there was a chance he wouldn't play again, but fortunately he didn't lose as much flexibility as they anticipated. He could play again if he worked hard enough for it.

"I regained my flexibility and worked hard to get back," he said. "I worked harder to get better than everyone else."

Dan Sumnicht said that incident and the way Sumnicht responded was typical of his son. He has always had that focus, that drive to work the hardest. The family may have been surprised at Sumnicht's nomination, but they are quite pleased at what he has done for himself, he said.

"He's done it all," Dan Sumnicht said. "And he's worked very hard for it."

"We couldn't be prouder," LaChapell added. "He deserves every bit of his success."

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