The Civil War and tennis are subjects which would not appear to have much in common, but they both played roles in bringing St. Charles North grad Christian Hoskey to Norwich University in Vermont.
“I was interested my senior year of high school in doing Army ROTC in college,” Hoskey explains. “It’s the home of Army ROTC, so I guess the original school.”
Norwich University in Northfield was the first school in the nation to institute an ROTC program under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, which established land-grant colleges. The Civil War was raging at the time, so Congress required military tactics to be taught at any colleges benefiting from land grants.
Hoskey says he was attracted to Norwich by “the atmosphere and the discipline” at the school.
A three-time state qualifier for the North tennis team, he also was interested in continuing his sports career in college.
“I talked to the coach a little bit before I came and he said they had some good players and a good program,” Hoskey says. “That definitely influenced me as far as my decision.”
Norwich’s sports teams are called the Cadets, but not everyone who attends the school is in ROTC.
“We do have civilian students here,” Hoskey notes. “That’s the nice thing about our team, too. We’ve got guys in the corps and the civilian students.”
During his freshman season in 2011, Hoskey compiled a 9-1 record at No. 2 singles and was named first-team all-conference by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).
He was 8-3 in singles play as a sophomore and was also part of a No. 2 doubles team that finished with a 6-2 record.
Now a junior, Hoskey got off to a fast start this season, winning his first three singles and doubles matches, earning him GNAC Player of the Week honors.
“It was nice to be able to help the team out,” Hoskey says. “It’s always interesting to see who gets the player of week honors. … I was pretty honored by that.”
Hoskey’s start to the season was even more impressive because he was stepping up in competition.
“It’s the first time I’ve played at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles,” he says. “There’s some pretty strong players in our conference. It’s been interesting. It’s definitely challenging me and I like that.”
One of the keys to Hoskey’s success is that he doesn’t focus on where he stands in relation to his competitors.
“I always try to compare myself not to other players I’ve played, but to my own progress throughout the years,” he says. “My own goal has to become a stronger mental player. … Mental toughness is a big thing.”
Hoskey is majoring in political science, but he will owe the Army eight years of service when he graduates, starting out with a commission as a second lieutenant.
“I’m not sure if I want to make a career out of it,” he says, adding that if he does leave the military, he’d like to do “something that brings my military experience and my major into play.”
He says his military experience and his major might involve a career with the FBI or CIA or perhaps the Department of Defense.
For now, though, he’s enjoying life in the Green Mountains and the skiing, hiking and camping opportunities they offer.
“Vermont is pretty awesome, obviously, as far as what there is to do outdoors,” Hoskey says. “I’ve got a good group of friends that I can rely on that are always willing to have some fun outdoors.”
• Dennis D. Jacobs writes the On Campus column for the Kane County Chronicle. To suggest local college athletes to be featured in future columns, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.