Name: Jake Kurzhals
School: Pearl River High School
Athletic accomplishments: Kurzhals has a 20-1 record as of Thursday in the 138 pound weight class. He finished second at Shoreline on Jan. 9 and won his weight class in Wednesday’s meet against Tappan Zee. Kurzhals is competing this weekend at Eastern States (he won his round-of-32 match, 5-2, at 138 pounds on Friday). He joined the 100-win club this season. He has a 76.38 winning percentage and is team captain. He won the O’Connell tournament earlier in the season. He’s also a member of the boys soccer team and runs spring track.
Academic accomplishments: Kurzhals has a 94.3 GPA. He was recently accepted to the Air Force Academy. He’s ranked 16th in his class. He’s taking three AP classes this year and one college-level class. Kurzhals is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, Rho Kappa Honor Society, Latin Honor Society and Science Honor Society.
School and community involvement: Kurzhals is attained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts.
Getting to know Jake Kurzhals
The Journal News: What’s the goal for Eastern States this weekend?
Jake Kurzhals: I remember at last year’s competition, I didn’t place, I lost by a point in the blood rounds. I’m looking to place this year. It’s a great tournament right before states to get some high-level competition and fix whatever you need.
TJN: How old were you when you started wrestling?
JK: Third grade. I saw a flyer and I wanted to try the sport and fell in love with it.
TJN: Will you continue wrestling after high school?
JK: I would love to continue wrestling in college
TJN: Why did you want to go the Air Force Academy?
JK: I always had an interest in flying. That was a major factor in the decision. I heard such great stories from my uncle and great-uncles both having gone. All the experiences that I’d like to have going there, with so many opportunities, that’s where I want to go.
TJN: Are you worried at all about enlisting when you get out of school?
JK: I understand the inherit risk of going into the military. I also understand I’m getting the best training possible to protect myself and protect others so I’m OK with it.
TJN: What do you want to major in?
JK: I’m looking into aeronautical engineering. I’m interested in flight and I like numbers and how things work.
TJN: How has your time in the Boy Scouts getting to be an Eagle Scout helped you be ready for the Air Force Academy?
JK: I learned leadership through the Boy Scouts and I feel like the military is a great way to carry that over. As far as being a leader, the Boy Scouts teaches you how to do things and pick up on how others teach you. Once you get to an age where you know your stuff, you teach the younger guys everything. It progresses itself forward.
The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week program honors students for their academic, athletic and community achievements. Each week a winner is selected from nominees submitted by athletic directors. Only seniors can be nominated, and the award can be won only once. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Monday. The presenting sponsor for The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete program is Gary Goldberg Financial Services.