Top Sports Story of the Week:
Kent McCombs is ‘All In on West Point’
By Mike Walters
Clinton senior Kent McCombs signed last week to attend and wrestle at West Point Military Academy in New York next year.
“I’ve always had the desire to attend a service academy,” McCombs told the Local. “I knew it was going to be hard to get in, so I set high goals in school and sports and other activities to try to make myself competitive.”
McCombs has placed in State wrestling finals as a freshman (5th place at 140 pounds), sophomore (2nd place at 145 pounds), and as a junior (2nd place, again at 145 pounds). He was also an integral part of the two state championships Clinton claimed in 2020 and 2021. Being an honors student makes him a top prospect for many programs across the nation.
As a younger student, Kent McCombs thought he would follow in his father’s (Larry McCombs) footsteps and wrestle in the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
“We visited there every few years starting when I was young, and I got to meet his (Larry’s) classmates, and I came to really appreciate how great the place was -- the history, the education, the military experience, and the relationships between classmates,” Kent said, “So I always just assumed that I would go to the Naval Academy.”
“Kent has wanted to attend a military academy since he was in elementary school,” said Linda McCombs, Kent’s mother. “He has worked hard in school, been very involved in student leadership and has played multiple sports to achieve this goal. Larry and I are very proud and happy for him to realize this goal.”
Though Kent kept his sights set on Annapolis, West Point Head Wrestling Coach Kevin Ward kept his sights on Kent.
“During the summer after my sophomore year, I was contacted by the head wrestling coach at West Point. His interest and ongoing engagement with me made me consider West Point more seriously,” Kent said. “The more I learned about it, the more I liked it. The combination of the great education, tradition, team culture, coaching staff, and everything else that the institution offers really appealed to me, as did the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point.”
“When Coach Ward called me in October and offered me one of his recruited “blue chip” athlete slots, which basically guaranteed my appointment and eliminated any doubts, I was all-in on West Point and made my commitment to Army Wrestling.”
Kent will attend West Point in the fall of 2022 and plans to major in business management.
“I’m really looking forward to being immersed in that tough West Point educational and wrestling environment,” he said. “I’m going to trust in the coaches and the process and give it my best effort and see where it takes me.”
Despite the long distance, Kent’s top fans -- Linda and Larry McCombs -- plan to remain in his corner.
“We enjoyed watching Kent play football this season, helping the team win the District title and being recognized as an All-Region and LCAA All-League 1st team LineBacker,” said Linda McCombs. “We are also excited about the upcoming wrestling season, and we are looking forward to many road trips to visit and watch Kent wrestle at West Point.”
With Clinton wrestling beginning (practices started last week), Kent is focusing on what’s just ahead...
“This year, I want to dominate every match and win an individual State Championship and help drive and inspire my teammates to do the same,” Kent said. “We lost lots of hammers to graduation… so we’re going to have to fill some holes and some old and new people are really going to have to step up this year to get it done. We want to earn our third consecutive Team State Championship this year.”