Roach on to Air Force Academy |

Roach on to Air Force Academy

Cindy Ramunno

On August 26, 1985, a star was born in Glenwood Springs. Cathy and Kevin Roach welcomed a son, Taylor, into the world, and now at 18 years old, Taylor continues to make his parents proud ” this home-grown Eagle County kid is heading to Air Force Academy this June.

In March of 2003, the hard work began for the Roaches. Unlike a college application, applying for an academy is double the work. First, the students must apply to congress and senate offices, along with academies, following each office or academy’s specific guidelines. Different essays are also written for each application. A senator or congressman must nominate the student for an appointment, and if and when the student gets that nomination, the student is encouraged to apply to more than one academy to up their chances of an acceptance.

Then, individual offices set up interviews. Roach interviewed with senators Allard and Campbell and Congressman Udall. Last November, Roach received a nomination by Congressman Udall. Then medical waivers and other red tape lengthened the process, so Roach applied and was accepted to other colleges and began interviewing for local scholarships. On April 12, Congressman Udall personally called Roach at school to notify him that he did indeed receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Roach will graduate from Battle Mountain High School this month as the school’s top student, with a grade point average of 4.3. He is excited and says it was worth all of the hard work. “It’s still sinking in ” I’m still coming to terms with it,” says the awestruck Roach. He wants to fly jets, and he’ll study aeronautical engineering at the Academy. In a world where private school reigns, Roach was asked if Battle Mountain prepared him for his future. “Battle Mountain is a good school if you choose to apply yourself,” says Roach. Younger brother Travis is a freshman at the school this year. Eagle County School District superintendent John Brendza had Roach during his middle school years at Berry Creek, where Brendza served as the school’s principal. Brendza says that Roach has applied himself and worked hard, and it’s paid off. “It is very difficult to receive an appointment at the Air Force Academy. Taylor’s an amazing kid and he will serve the Air Force as an incredible cadet,” Brendza adds.

At Battle Mountain, Roach did a little bit of everything. He was on the lacrosse team, alpine and Nordic ski teams and rugby team. He served as the team captain for the boys’ soccer team and competed in this year’s state ski meet. He was also named one of the Denver Post’s top athletes. On top of all that, Roach has been a coach for the Special Olympics for the past few years. “You must be 16 to be involved with the Special Olympics ” I grew up here knowing Jeff Douglas (Special Olympic coordinator) and I enjoy it,” says Roach. The main reason Roach loves high school sports is that he’s able to be with his friends, doing something they all like to do. How does he do it all? Roach answers, “honestly, just prioritize, and being involved in athletics actually helps me focus.”

Roach has never had a pre-game ritual, he just goes off on his own and listens to music while thinking about what the day has in store for him. He eats pasta and granola bars before a performance, and he washes that down with a Red Bull. Just as he likes different sports, he also likes a variety of music and listens to some of everything.

Like that fateful August day 18 years ago in Glenwood Springs, Roach’s parents are still beaming. The best advice parents Cathy and Kevin have given their son is to work hard. “Put in the work and you’ll get the results you want,” Roach has heard his parents say, probably more than once. There are many things Roach will miss about Battle Mountain and the valley while he’s down in Colorado Springs, working hard on his future. What’s the biggest thing he’ll miss? Roach smiles, “Skiing 80 days a year.”

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