Jayson MaCree

Equinox Staff

 

Last fall semester, Keene State College men’s cross country runner Chris Ager decided to make a career path change.

This career change included a little bit more than changing schools or switching majors.

Instead, Ager opted to take the 2011 fall semester off for basic training.

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The 20-year-old junior traveled to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

He participated in basic technical training at Lackland Air Force Base.

Missing a whole semester of school would worry most, but Ager said he had his reasons.

“A lot of it was money for school, I really couldn’t afford it, so by serving in the Air Force I actually get paid to go to school,” Ager said.

He added, “They take care of it and I am doing a job I enjoy.”

However with the missed time, also came a missed season.

Ager has been a member of the men’s cross country team here at KSC for three years now.

Head Coach Pete Thomas said when Chris was coming into college, he was one of Keene High School’s better runners.

Coach Thomas understood Ager’s decision to leave school last semester.

“In talking with him, the Air Force looks like a nice career path,” Thomas said.

Coach Pete Thomas added, “The training is going to be beneficial and if he decides to stay 20 years in the military, good for him.”

As far as the cross country season, having gone through basic training changes the complexion of what type of shape Ager is in.

Both Coach Thomas and Ager agreed that after basic training he was in a good overall shape, more well rounded, but his cardio may have dropped off.

Ager said, “I wouldn’t say I was in running shape. The longest runs they have at Lackland are three or four miles, while the longest one here we’ve done is 15.”

With every new season brings new expectations.

Coach Thomas’ take for the upcoming season: “The men’s team should be an improvement over last year and Chris should add some needed depth to the team.”

Ager, on the other hand, is less focused on his role with the team and more focused on his own body and how it will hold up through the season.

Ager said, “I’d like to stay healthy, improve, but mainly not get hurt and be out there.”

Despite the time missed, Ager got a feel for the change of pace the military brings.

“I definitely had a good experience and learned a lot. It is way different than college,” Ager said.

“The tests you take down there, it is a lot less thinking and more to do with memory,” Ager added.

“I enjoy being in the military, so I’ll definitely consider doing it after this. It is two totally different lifestyles,” Ager said.

Chris Ager’s father, Todd Ager, supports his son’s decision, and also appreciates the benefits serving in the military provided him.

Todd Ager said, “There is of course the financial benefits, but it also gives him a good base and foundation for his future, as well as an unmatched work ethic. I think it is great.”

Ager sees an opportunity with the Air Force in the future and has a plan of what to do with his degree.

He said, “ I might use it to eventually be able to take the planes out and fly at some point.”

Ager added, “Right now I’m just fixing the planes, but it offers a good career and provides pensions which most places around here don’t do.”

Ager’s first race of the season was the KSC Alumni Meet on Sept. 1, 2012. Ager placed eighty-eighth in the meet with a time of 18 minutes and five seconds.

If you want to see Chris Ager in action, the next meet for the KSC men’s cross country team will be taking place on Sept. 15, 11 a.m. at UMass-Amherst.

Ager will continue his military career once he graduates from Keene State College in 2014.

 

Jayson MaCree can be contacted at jmacree@keene-equinox.com

 

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