Friends and family gathered in the Thayer Award Room to celebrate the well-earned success of Class of 2023 Cadets Skye Williams and William Rankin as they received this year’s coveted Lt. Gen. Harold “Halˮ G. Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence Award on Nov. 9 at the U.S. Military Academy.
West Point presents the award to the top male and female athletes within their senior year who live up to the bar Hal Moore set throughout his tenure as an officer.
Mental toughness, perseverance, a winning spirit and humility are qualities that the cadets must display on top of living by the tenets of the warrior ethos in the Department of Physical Education.
To achieve this goal, Williams spent her tenure at the academy fighting her way to the top, eventually becoming the captain of the West Point women’s boxing team. Meanwhile, Rankin pushed himself against the current performing lap after lap while breaking milestones on the West Point swimming and diving team.
“After receiving the award, I felt overjoyed and extremely blessed. I reflected on my journey up until that point and all the wonderful people who helped me along the way, and I felt immense gratitude,” Williams said. “I thank God for the abilities He has given me to accomplish my purpose while making a positive impact and inspiring others.”
Williams added that it’s a true blessing to have the opportunity to prove oneself by managing one’s time and meeting all of West Point’s demands in academics, the military pillar and the physical fitness pillar while finding time for herself, her friends and colleagues.
“I’m really, really grateful just for learning what West Point has taught me about building your character, building great habits and really developing discipline so you can go above and beyond everything that West Point and life has asked of you,” Williams said.
During the ceremony, retired Col. David Moore, son of Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, gave a presentation on how to live and lead honorably like his father by playing clips of some of his father’s speeches during the twilight of his life and providing cadets with his own piece of wisdom from his experience serving in the Army.
“I really enjoyed the pieces David Moore talks about when it comes to setting good habits,” Rankin said. “I think that’s something that I’ve learned to do at West Point and that I’ve seen play out during my time in sports and academics. Setting good habits, being consistent in what you do, and making sure you do those things everyday differentiates you from others and sets you apart.”
It’s also about finding a balance, Rankin and Williams added. Both cadets typically use their perspective sports to decompress and find a balance between academics, athletics and military customs. Essentially, it’s about being fully committed to the task at hand without distraction, whether it’s an assignment that needs to be completed or performing an athletic feat.
“I think it comes down to what David Moore talked about in his speech. It comes down to doing the little things right,” Rankin concluded. “Oftentimes, there aren’t going to be major milestones that must be completed. Everything isn’t a giant step. Everything is done one step at a time.”