MANISTIQUE - A childhood dream is about to turn into reality for Kenner Broullire.
The Manistique High School senior will leave Schoolcraft County this summer to attend West Point Military Academy, where he plans to run track next season.
"I'm very excited about it," said Broullire. "This is something I've dreamed of since I was little, not only about going to the academy. But I've always dreamed of playing college sports. I think this will be very fulfilling. I'm looking forward to seeing how I match up with everybody there."
In this file photo from August 2012, Kenner Broullire stands on the Manistique football field before practice. Broullire will attend West Point Military Academy in the fall and plans to run on the Division I track team.
Broullire, whose tenative plan is to major in economics, will report to the academy on July 1 for six weeks of basic training.
"That will be very demanding," said Broullire. "Yet, this is also a way to develop some leadership skills and an opportunity to serve my country. I'll be training to become an officer in the U.S. Army. There's a lot on your plate while you're there.
"During your freshmen year they do a lot of things that don't seem to have a purpose. But in the end, everything has a purpose. They teach you a great deal of discipline and try to make you a better individual. They also try to make great leaders for the Army and the nation."
Acceptance into the academy is a two-part process as Broullire explains.
"First, you need to get a nomination by a Congressman," he said. "Then, you can apply to an institution of higher learning of your choice. There's actually five you can apply to. I applied only to the Naval Academy and West Point, and the only one which accepted me was West Point."
Broullire, the Upper Peninsula Division 1 recordholder in the 300-meter hurdles (39.74 seconds), is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to compete in major college (NCAA Division 1) track.
"This is something I've very excited about," he said. "They're in the Patriot League, but they compete against quite a few Ivy League schools. I believe they also go to the Penn State Relays, which is a very prestigious event. They pretty much run track year round and have an indoor season. Track season is very limited in the Upper Peninsula due to weather conditions."
According to West Point assistant (sprint) coach Rondell Ruff, Broullire will start by running sprints as a freshman with the possibility of resuming the hurdle races as a sophomore or junior.
"He (Ruff) has never seen me run," said Broullire. "First off, the level of competition will be very high. I'm just hoping I can help the team. Another thing, I'm looking forward to putting on a different uniform. Not only will I be representing the school, but I'll be representing the entire United States. This is a big step. I'll need to get a grasp of everything that's different. They haven't set up a training program for me. I just do what the coaches at Manistique ask of me."
Broullire is well aware of the challenges in store, such as balancing athletics with academics.
"The academics is what I'm mostly concerned about," he said. "It's definitely going to be tough. The academy is Ivy League caliber academically. But knowing I'm representing my family, our community and the Upper Peninsula will give me motivation to push through the hard times. The school is known for its engineering program, but I don't think of myself as an engineer. That's why I'm (tentatively) planning to major in economics. I had an econ class in high school and for some reason I really enjoyed it."
This will also be Broullire's first extended venture away from home, something he says isn't a major concern.
"I'm not afraid to be away from home," he added. "I like the adventure. I like the opportunity to experience things for myself and see different sites. I'll be so busy that I won't be able to think about home to much. I'll get to see the Army-Navy football game this fall, which is something I'm really looking forward to. I was interested in playing football there, but track is the way to go for myself. Coach has been very good with me."