This spring, James Agan had a tough but enviable choice to make: Navy or Air Force.
His junior year, he set a goal of attending the US Air Force Academy, and he applied to both the Air Force and Naval Academies. This February, he got a call from Congressman Erik Paulsen congratulating him on his appointment to the Naval Academy. He accepted the offer, and after visiting Annapolis over spring break, he knew it was the right place for him. The next week, he found out he was also admitted to the Air Force Academy.
It is likely the years of discipline from wrestling and rigorous academics helped shape James into an ideal candidate for a military academy. He has wrestled at the varsity level since 7th grade, and he’s excelled in the classroom, earning the designation of AP Scholar with Distinction. Math is his favorite subject; as a senior, in addition to a full schedule at MHS, he’s taking calculus at the University of Minnesota.
This year was different from the start for Tonka Wrestling. “We got a lot more people involved, and we started a before-school lifting program,” James says. By the end of the season, he had 27 wins and 18 pins, fourth overall for the team. It was a season to remember for Agan and his teammates: for the first time in history, the Skippers made it to the state tournament. Wrestling at 160, up from 126 his freshman year, Agan won the last match of his wrestling career, an experience that was all the more meaningful in front of big crowds at the Xcel Energy Center.
Agan’s achievements do not surprise those who know him well. Wrestling coach Josh Frie says James is always one of the first to arrive at practice, and he always gives 100%.
“He leads by example,” says Frie. “He welcomes challenge, he is willing to ask questions, and he has the confidence to step up and teach the people around him.”
As for that tough choice: Agan stayed with his initial decision. On June 30, he will be inducted into the US Naval Academy Class of 2020 and begin Plebe Summer, a six-week program of rigorous physical and mental training.