It's not unusual for a five-year-old boy to have a dream of being a pilot. But then for most boys, it takes them some time to realize what they really want to do.
Carson High senior Chad Shroy was no different. He didn't realize what he really wanted to do until he was 7.
Shroy has a goal to be a Naval aviator - more specifically to become a fighter pilot - and he's well on his way to his goal as he's been accepted to the United States Naval Academy.
Shroy, who won the the individual NIAA 4A state title in boys cross country this past spring, will also run cross country and indoor and outdoor track for Navy. He will focus on the 800 and 1,600 meters this spring in track for Carson.
"I pretty much knew I wanted to be a Naval aviator since I was five years old," Shroy said.
Then after his parents - Keith Shroy and Jeanne Stelzer - took him to the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Shroy was definitely hooked. He received a tour of the station's Top Gun school and also received the chance to sit in an F-A-18 Hornet jet.
"That really solidified it," said Shroy about pursuing his goal of becoming a Naval pilot. "I thought it was absolutely amazing."
Shroy knew to become a Naval pilot, he would have to become an officer. "You have to be an officer if you want to fly," he said.
"That and the whole prospect of the government paying for my education just really intrigued me," Shroy also said, commenting on reason why he wanted to attend the Naval Academy.
While an ROTC scholarship at another college was an option that Shroy knew he may have to pursue if wasn't accepted to the Naval Academy, being accepted to the academy was his ultimate goal.
Shroy was accepted into the Naval Academy this fall. "I just felt a whole lot of relief," said Shroy, who gave much of the credit for achieving his goals to his parents. "It was just an incredible feeling to have the offer of appointment and to check the box I accept. It's very cool."
This summer, Shroy will attend the academy's notorious Plebe Summer, a brutal six-week program in which incoming Midshipmen are indoctrinated. "Getting yelled at and the P.T. (physical training) and all that fun stuff," Shroy said. "It's all fun and exciting to me."
While his ultimate goal is to become a fighter pilot, Shroy knows that he could end up serving in any other capacity from being a Marine officer to being a surface warfare officer and he's fine with that. Shroy, who maintains a 3.95 grade point average, said he plans to major in systems engineering at Navy.
Shroy knows it won't be determined how he'll serve until the last semester of his senior year at Navy and he knows that he'll have to finish as high as possible in his class to have any chance of becoming a fighter pilot.
If he reaches his goal, the most likely scenario will be for him to go to Pensacola, Fla., for another 12 to 18 months of training. If Shroy becomes a pilot, he'll be required to serve at least nine years as opposed to the five years for other officers who graduate from the Naval Academy.
While he says it's important to him to serve his country, Shroy realizes what that means, especially with the situation in the world today.
"My goal has always been to serve my country," Shroy said. "It's not like I'm asking to be sent off to war. But if that's where they send me, they send me. I'm just really interested more in the service of the country."
For now, one of Shroy's obvious highlights as a student-athlete was to win the state title at Boulder City.
"Wow I did it," said Shroy about what he thought when he crossed the finish line. "It didn't really sink in until about a half an hour after the race was over."
Shroy beat a strong field of runners from Northern and Southern Nevada for the title, including Reno High's Walter Juarez. Shroy finished second to Juarez at the NIAA Northern 4A meet. "He made all of us in the North better runners," Shroy said.
But at state, Shroy was able to stay back and allow the top runners battle each other, then he was able to pull away. "I definitely felt like it was one of the smartest races I've ever run," he said.
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