Leaders Among Leaders

Sept. 13, 2013

For the second consecutive year, the First Captain of the United States Corps of Cadets, the highest position in the West Point cadet chain of command is a corps squad athlete. Following in the footsteps of football's Brandon Whittington, Lindsey Danilack, a multi-event specialist on the track and field team will serve as the Corps' top leader during the 2013-14 academic year. Danilack is the fourth female in West Point history to serve in the role since women entered the Academy in 1976.

As First Captain, also known as Brigade Commander, Danilack is responsible for the overall performance of the approximately 4,400 member Corps of Cadets. She is the first female since Stephanie Hightower served in 2005-06. Danilack joins Hightower, Grace Chung (2003-04) and Kristin Baker (1989-90) as the Academy's lone female Brigade Commanders. Other notable First Captains include John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and William Westmoreland.

The First Captain is a senior similar to a student body president. Her duties will include implementing a class agenda and acting as a liaison between the Corps and the administration. In addition, Danilack is the top of a pyramid of cadet commanders who make up the chain of command for the Corps of Cadets at West Point.

"First and foremost our entire program congratulates Lindsey on her appointment," said Army track and field head coach Troy Engle. "We are confident that the Corps is in great hands. She is our captain-elect so her leadership ability is well known to our program. Our program goals are simple: to be outstanding cadets, top students and competitive Division I athletes - no one embodies those lofty ideals better than she does."

In addition to Danilack's appointment, two other track and field athletes will serve key roles in the cadet chain of command. Joining Danilack, are Alexandra Sutherland and Ian MacPherson. Sutherland, a native of Houston, Texas, was named the Brigade Supply Officer while Macpherson, who hails from Belle Mead, N.J., will be the Fourth Regiment Commander.

"To add to our excitement, three additional members of the army track family were put into leadership roles," Engle said. "In addition to Ian and Allie, long-time manager Teddy Kostich will be the Brigade Personnel Officer. I am very proud of all them. It really is amazing and speaks volumes of their commitment to the Academy and the Corps."

Danilack competes in the pentathlon and heptathlon and runs the hurdles. Sutherland is a middle-distance runner who also competes on the cross country team. Macpherson also runs in middle-distance events.

The track and field program isn't the only team represented among the cadet leadership. Football captain Thomas Holloway (Birmingham, Ala.) will lead the Brigade Student Athletic Advisory Council, a group made up of team captains from the NCAA sports, and baseball standout Jon Crucitti (Salisbury, N.C.) was named the Third Regiment Command Sergeant Major.

"We are very proud of all of these young men and women who are serving the Corps of Cadets," said Army Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Boo Corrigan. "These leaders of character have the work ethic to succeed on the field, in the classroom and now in leadership positions among their peers. This is the latest example of our cadet-athletes doing great things."

Cadets at West Point must apply, be nominated, and then interview for leadership positions among their peers before being appointed by senior staff.

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