Winter Sports School senior aims to attend military academy in West Point
He is set to graduate from the Winter Sports School this November
For two years, Matt Loverso has woken up at 6 a.m. every morning. He does push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a run, a basketball throw and a shuttle run.
“Well, almost every day,” he said. He is a high school student after all.
Loverso is training in order to pass a fitness test for his dream college, the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. He is a senior at the Winter Sports School who has planned on attending the academy since his mother told him about it when he was in sixth grade.
“She showed me pictures of it online, of the fort and the academy, what it looks like to march, and she said, ‘It’s very hard to get into,’” he said. “Ever since that day of her showing me pictures online of West Point, (I decided) I wanted to go, and I never lost that. It stayed with me all the way. I’m 17, and I’m still shooting for it.”
Loverso’s love for the military began with his grandfather and hero, Frank Loverso, who received a Purple Heart for his service in World War II during the Battle of the Bulge, the last major campaign against the Germans. Matt was 4 years old when his grandfather passed away.
He began the official application for West Point in September, which includes an online application, candidate fitness assessment and multiple essays to congressional representatives asking for their referral. Each member of Congress, including the vice president, can only refer one student. Of the 13,000 students that apply each year, about 4,000 are nominated and 1,000 have a chance to be accepted. Ultimately, it comes down to the school’s selection committee.
While Loverso fills out tedious applications, he sometimes stops to look at his fellow students who only require a good ACT score and decent grades to be accepted by a college.
“Do I see all of that and think, ‘Yeah, they’re working pretty easy?’” he said. “Yeah, but it’s what I want. It’s what I want above all else. I would do anything to get into this college.”
That includes maintaining a 4.0 grade point-average, taking a college-level calculus course, completing an Eagle Scout project and excelling in his snowboard boardercross competitions. This year, he took third place in boardercross at the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s Nationals. The dedication to push him from 40th to third in one year is part of what keeps him pushing toward his goal to be a ranger in the U.S. Special Forces one day.
His mother, Kristin Loverso, said he has always been determined, but his drive really kicked in when he was put on the honor roll in seventh grade.
“He’s held himself to a high standard ever since then,” she said. “There have been days when I’ve had to say to him, ‘Enough. Go to bed. You have done enough and you can only do what you can do.’”
She and her husband, Charles, have watched his dedicated mind push him beyond any goals they would have set for him.
“He is definitely of a different mold, and always has been,” she said.
While dedication is a necessary skill he learned through snowboarding, he has also developed the skill of bouncing back after failing.
“I’ve learned a lot more from losing than from winning,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot more from falling than from finishing a race. I’ve got in crashes before, I’ve messed up and caught an edge, I’ve gone off-track, I’ve gotten hurt before and had to get back up and do it again and reassess.”
He also said he is continuously pushed by his competitive schoolmates at the Winter Sports School, many of whom are placing high in national and world competitions in skiing and snowboarding.
Loverso plans to take the physical fitness exam this month while he waits to hear back from congressional representatives. If not accepted into West Point, he plans to attend a local university and join the ROTC.
“I’m going to be in the Army no matter what,” he said. “It wouldn’t matter if I had to go enlist as a grunt. I would go in and what I want to do.”