Strauss decides on Naval Academy
Jon Strauss (front row, center) signs a Letter of Intent to attend the US Naval Academy. Strauss, a 2012 Lehighton High School grad, will continue his academic and track careers with the Midshipmen. Sitting next to Strauss for the signing are his mother Greta and his father Bud. Standing behind him are his brothers Graham and Chris Strauss.
Jon Strauss is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
And that's exactly why the elite javelin thrower remained calm when the right opportunity didn't present itself after his graduation from Lehighton High School last spring.
While Strauss received interest from many Division I schools, the best scenario for him and his family just wasn't there. So instead of making a hasty decision, the former PIAA state medalist took his time trying to figure out his future plans.
Eventually, while taking classes at Moravian College, training with a West Point grad and having numerous discussions with his parents and javelin coaches, Strauss entertained the idea of applying to the Naval Academy.
The idea became reality, and after a long application and interview process, Strauss will be heading to Annapolis soon.
"I was really looking for a home and a program that I could get into and be successful," said Strauss. "Last year things didn't work out with a couple of schools I was getting recruited by, like Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Michigan and Arizona, just to name a few. Basically the scholarships weren't enough and didn't match up to what my family's financial needs were.
"Since then I've done a lot of thinking of what I wanted to do. I started training with Christopher Knittle, a graduate from West Point, and we talked about what I was doing and where I was going. I applied to Moravian College and took classes there. Moravian is a great environment, I loved it, but I knew that it wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to get to the higher level of competing.
"I just decided on the Naval Academy because it's everything I wanted ... The complete balance between athletics, the education I'm going to be getting, and the financial help just fit perfectly."
The former Indian athlete will be joining a pair of top-notch throwers to give the Midshipmen an impressive crew of competitors in the javelin.
"I really liked the coach at Navy and their program," said Strauss, who leaves June 27 and will face eight weeks of basic training. "They have a couple great javelin throwers and I'm looking forward to trying to bring in some new ideas and hopefully make the program even better."
Strauss hopes to get better himself. Last year's district champion had a TIMES NEWS area best of 202-8 in the event and would like to reach nationals some day. In fact, he has also set a goal of making Navy's Elite Athlete Program which would allow him to train for a possible shot at the Olympics.
"While those are goals, that's all in good time," he said. "Right now I want to get through the first summer."
With what he's already endured, that shouldn't be a problem.
"It took about six months total to finish the application," said Strauss. "I've been through interviews with State Senators Casey and Toomey and with Congressman Barletta. So it's been a long process. I've been able to keep my grades up (3.75) whch has been a blessing.
"It's just been a great overall experience. I've learned a lot about myself, applying and going through this. I feel like I got my first pages of life experience through this and hopefully the Academy will help me mature even more."
Strauss won't be the first member of his family to enter the military. His grandfather, Leonard Strauss, was in the Marine Corps and was a gunner in World War II.
"I was always curious about it but it was never a priority. My priority was always Division I track and field. Once I graduated and started training with Christopher Knittle I started thinking this could really be a good idea. Not only do I get a top-notch education, not only do I get to compete at the Division I level, but it's free education and I get to serve my country ... I thought about it more and more and I felt like it just fit my lifestyle. I'm going to miss my family, but I think it's going to be a good situation."