Centurion Pin ceremony honors cadet club captains

Story and photos by Kathy Eastwood Staff Writer

September 13th, 2018 | News, News and Features
 Commandant of the Corps of Cadets Brig. Gen. Steven Gilland (left) and Master of the Sword Col. Nicholas Gist (right) present Class of 2019 Cadet and Triathlon Captain Hailey Conger with a Centurion Pin. Seventeen Centurion Pins were presented to captains of club sports Sept. 5 at Washington Hall. The Centurion Pin recognizes the accomplishments and dedication of competitive club team captains and the student athletic club coordinator.
  The Centurion Pins were presented to 17 captains of Cadet Club Sports Sept. 5 at the Cadet Mess Hall.

Sixteen cadet captains of their respective competitive club sport, and U.S. Military Academy Class of 2019 Thomas Durst, the student athletic club coordinator, received the Centurion Pin in the annual Centurion Award Ceremony Sept. 5. The pins are presented to recognize the accomplishments and dedication of the 2019 competitive club team captains and the SACC.
Competitive clubs represented were men’s and women’s boxing, climbing, crew, cycling, equestrian, fencing, judo, marathon, orienteering, power lifting, men’s and women’s team handball, triathlon, volleyball and water polo.
The Department of Physical Education supervises 16 competitive club athletic teams.
“Club members select their team captains based on their physical prowess, dedication to the team and leadership abilities,” Capt. Brian Kavanagh, boxing instructor and competitive clubs athletics coordinator for the Department of Physical Education said. “The team captains are expected to develop their teammates into warrior athletes of character while building a team of significance. Although expectations are high, our CCA team captains have been very effective at building cohesive and successful teams. Eight of the 16 CCA teams are defending individual or national champions.”
Last year, the CCA teams won seven star matches against Air Force, eight star matches against Navy, and several matches against the Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and the Royal Military Academy of Canada. In recognition of their prestigious selection as team captains, they are presented the Centurion Pin, which is worn on the cadets’ black jacket.”
USMA Class of 2019 Cadet Ejakhianaghe Obiomon received the Centurion Pin for Women’s Boxing. Obiomon has two siblings, a brother Egbezien, a USMA Class of 2018 graduate and sister, USMA Class of 2020, Ebakoliane, all who were or are boxers.
“I feel great; I have been looking forward to this for a year,” Obiomon, a native of Houston,  said.
“My older brother was a good boxer and he got me into boxing.”
Obiomon’s older brother, 2nd Lt. Egbezien Obiomon, was the recipient of the Mike Krzyzewski Teaching Character through Sport Award or Coach K Award in May.
Durst, the SACC, received a pin for climbing.
“I think this is a great honor and very nice to receive the Centurion Pin,” Durst said. “My oldest brother, who didn’t go to West Point, got me into climbing. I have been involved in the club since my plebe year.”
In the ancient Roman Army, soldiers were awarded the rank of “Centurion” based on their strength, size and skills, as well as their years of dedicated military service. They would typically command legions of 100 men or more.
The Centurion Pin Ceremony was the brainchild of former Commandant of the U.S. Corps of Cadets, retired Major Gen. William Rapp, in 2009 to honor those leaders in the competitive sports clubs, and to expand on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s quote, “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, on other days, and other fields, will bear the fruit of victory.”