Dec. 6, 2012
By Chris Lerch Atlantic Hockey Columnist
Army senior defenseman Cheyne Rocha had to skip the Black Knights' games on Nov. 16 and 17. While it's unusual to excuse your captain from games, coach Brian Riley knew Rocha had a good reason.
The Rye, N.H., native was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, and had his final interviews in New York City that weekend.
"He's an amazing young man," Riley said. "To handle the school work here and to be a Division I athlete, and all the time and energy that goes into that, and to be so good at both takes a special guy."
Rocha was not one of the 32 eventual winners, but he said he was honored to be among the short list of finalists and learned a lot going through the process.
rocha2 In Rhodes finalist Rocha, Army has an amazing young man
Cheyne Rocha is one of two Army players who went deep into the selection process for the Rhodes Scholarship (photo: Army Athletic Communications).
"Life at West Point doesn't often allow you time to think about what you want to do with your life," he said. "This kind of forced me to really think about my future and my goals beyond the ones I have right now. It taught me some things about myself."
Rocha, who carries a 4.0 GPA in engineering, said he was encouraged by faculty at West Point to apply for the scholarship.
"I've been successful [in the classroom] but never thought of myself that way," he said. "Faculty members asked me to look at the scholarship. I went through it with [goalie] Ryan Leets. It was a lot of work and there were times when I called my parents for advice and they said, `This is something you can't pass up.'"
"To have two guys under consideration was great," Riley said. "Ryan Leets went pretty deep [into the selection process], too. They're unbelievable students, award-winning students. Our team GPA is going to take a huge hit when those guys walk out the door."
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