AW Senior Cole Ragan Signs To Play Football At Air Force

AW senior Cole Ragan signed his letter of intent to attend and play football for the United States Air Force Academy at AWHS on December 20. He is pictured here beside AW football coach Andy Brungard, sister Kelsey and parents, Luke and Rachelle Ragan. MIRROR PHOTO BY JOEL SENSENIG

BY JOEL SENSENIG | MIRROR SPORTS — Putting pen to paper on a commitment he made last summer, Anthony Wayne senior Cole Ragan signed his letter of intent to attend and play football for the U.S. Air Force Academy in front of family and friends at AWHS on December 20. Ragan, an offensive and defensive lineman for the Generals, racked up many football honors this fall. He was a second-team All-Ohio selection on offense, a first-team Northern Lakes League pick on both sides of the ball, a first-team district selection, as well as an all-academic NLL pick. “It’s unreal,” Ragan said after sending his signed letter to the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs, Colo., where he will report for basic training in June. “It’s been a culmination of everything I’ve worked for coming to fruition. It’s been really cool to experience it and look back and see how much I’ve worked and how much I’ve done to prepare for this. “I’m astonished that I’m going to such a great place with such great people,” he continued. “It’s something that upholds more than just a university standard – it’s something that represents the United States and something I’m doing to help the United States and our military. I couldn’t think of a better place to go.” AW football coach Andy Brungard said it was appropriate for Ragan to sign a letter of intent featuring a mission statement of “to educate, train and inspire men and women to become leaders of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.” “That’s exactly who he is,” Brungard said. “It was very rewarding to hear that he was going to Air Force and then watch him this year. He just has a respect for authority, a routine of getting up early in the morning. He’s a servant leader. He did so many small things for us as a captain that can’t be spoken highly enough of, so it’s a great fit for him.” At the team’s awards program in November, Brungard recalled that after its only regular season loss, Ragan was the last member of the team in the locker room, cleaning up the room. “That’s how much he cares for others,” Brungard said. “He knew that some other people had not taken care of their own business in the locker room, so he went back and took care of it for them. He just did it without saying anything. “You talk about somebody who is going to a military school where others are going to have to rely on him and trust him, I don’t think there’s a person of higher character than him.” In addition to being a fine upstanding young man, his coach said Ragan knows how to get results on the field as well, fueled by a motor that doesn’t quit. “He’s a 260-pound offensive-defensive lineman that plays both ways – he doesn’t like being taken off the field,” Brungard said. “Sometimes as a coach, you have to tell him to stop, because he’s just not going to.” After serious deliberation between the Air Force and the Navy, a trip to Colorado sealed the deal for Ragan. “I knew the military life was the way I wanted to go because they took us on a tour to see cadet life,” he said. “I got to see how the brotherhood works and how they’re all a big family. Once I got there, it was done. I knew it was the place for me.” Ragan said growing up in the Anthony Wayne community was a critical part of his dreams coming true. “I owe everything to this community. Coach Brungard and Coach (Craig) Smith before him, they’ve done so much to shape me as a man and really teach me life lessons that helped me learn about hard work,” he said, also crediting his wrestling and track coaches for their influence in his life. “All of those people have been so influential in my life. The community as a whole has been so supportive of our football team. I couldn’t ask for anything more from them because I think they’re the best community around. I love this school and I’d do anything for this school.” Ragan plans to major in biology with the hopes of going into medicine and eventually becoming an orthopedic surgeon. In addition to being a big day for the student-athlete, it was an equally significant day for his parents, Luke and Rachelle Ragan. “It’s humbling,” Luke said. “It’s cool to see the whole community come together. I think it’s a celebration of him going there, but it’s more a celebration of the community and the high school. It can’t be done without everybody.” Rachelle said all of Cole’s coaches and friends played a part in the day occurring. “Cole has overcome some adversities and these people have helped him, along with his buddies and his family,” she said. “He’s worked extremely hard to get here, so to see all his hard work come to fruition, I’m very happy for him.” Thinking back to the locker room cleanup, Luke said that being selfless is one of Cole’s personality traits. “He realizes that he’s worked for things and he doesn’t expect others to do things that he could do. He cares for the others around him and that’s why he does things like that.” Rachelle noted that Evan Brown and Alex Vogel – 2017 AW graduates and Cole’s teammates – helped show her son how to be a leader. “They were leaders for him when he needed a leader, when he was struggling in other sports,” she said. “They showed what a good leader needs to be. Yes, their game matters, but the greater good is the team, and Cole took that to heart. “At Clyde, they lost, but he wondered, ‘What can I do to make this team better? I want to lead by example.’” Attending the Air Force Academy has a deeper meaning for Cole than just continuing his athletic or academic careers, Rachelle noted. “He said, ‘Mom, I get to serve my country, too,’” she said. “Which is even bigger than you, I or anyone.”

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