Being a student-athlete at any school is no easy task. Between classes, practices, games and required study sessions, they can find themselves with little time to just hang out and unwind.
Now imagine being a student-athlete at a military academy, with a schedule that is already tightly regimented without their athletic responsibilities. The intense work and fierce scrutiny can be a definite challenge.
However, that hasn’t slowed down Air Force Academy goaltender Jason Torf.
On the ice, the senior has been among the best goalies in the Atlantic Hockey Association throughout his career. He led the team to the AHA tournament title in each of his first two seasons, posting a shutout in the championship game each season. As a sophomore, he set school records with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .929 save percent, despite missing 14 games with a groin injury, and was named the AHA Tournament MVP.
In the classroom, the aeronautical engineering major has made the Dean’s List in five of his six semesters at the Academy. He’s made the Commandant’s List for both military and athletic excellence.
With everything he does on a daily basis, does it ever get overwhelming?
“I’ve kind of gone through phases,” said the Hermosa Beach, Calif., native. “Freshman year, [playing hockey] was the best possible thing I could’ve hoped for because it helped take my mind off the freshmen requirements. It was my little safe haven and gave me something to look forward to.
“As I started getting older, it did get overwhelming at times with the academic course load we have. Sometime you just wish you could acrank out your homework in the afternoon and get a good night’s sleep.”
Hitting the rack early would benefit any cadet, not just the student-athletes, as they have a 6:20 a.m. wake-up call. Torf said they then have either military meetings or formation around 6:40 a.m., before heading to mandatory breakfast at 7 a.m., and the start of class at 7:30.
With the course load his major requires, Torf said he is in class from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. By the time he’s finished with class, hockey and his other responsibilities, it’s time for dinner and homework.
This isn’t your intro-level biology homework, either. When explaining his career goals after he graduates, Torf does his best to provide the “Reader’s Digest” version of his dream job as a test engineer.
When the military is determining whether a new aircraft is suitable for flight or still in the developmental stages, a test engineer is the one who will help make the final determination.
“You crunch numbers and find ways to tweak the plane, whether that’s through the computer systems or though actually changing the plane’s configuration,” Torf said.
On the ice, Torf’s attention to detail is equally as impressive, both in his career with the Academy and his work internationally. This past July, Torf was selected to play for Team USA at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Even though the team lost to Canada, 7-1, in the finals, Torf was appreciative of the experience.
“It was probably the best summer of my life,” Torf said. “Not a lot of people ever hear about the Maccabiah Games. When I got over there, I felt extremely privileged to be a part of the program. I got to put the USA jersey on my chest, and there’s no feeling quite like that.”
Hockey wasn’t the first sport that caught Hannah Hogenson’s attention, but it has turned out to be her best.
When she was 6 years old, Hannah joined her older brother in a USA Wrestling Freestyle state tournament, where she placed third in her weight class. She later took up soccer, before getting into hockey around the time she was 9.
At the urging of her coaches, she suited up between the pipes and led her rec league team to wins against both of the local boys’ teams in her first season. The following year, she moved up to the Boys’ Tier II division and worked tirelessly through private lessons and summer camps to improve her game.
The hard work paid off when this year she was named to the Alaska Selects, a collection of the best 2001-birth year players in the state. They traveled to Detroit in September for the Little Caesars Hockey Town Challenge, where she helped the Selects win the tournament.
Away from the ice, Hannah is a straight-A student who also plays the clarinet and enjoys outdoor activities such as riding ATVs.