Adrian athlete blazes trail to Air Force Academy

ADRIAN –An Adrian High School senior is headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and his athletic signing is not just a significant accomplishment. It’s making local history.

Jace Martin, a track and field standout, became the first athlete from Adrian to sign with a Division 1 school and the first to sign with the U.S. Air Force Academy, according to Billy Wortman, Adrian High School principal.

Martin, a top-ranked track standout in the 100, 200 and 400-meter sprints, was one of four track athletes the Air Force Academy recruited, Wortman said. Martin holds the current state record in the 100-meter race.

“Adrian High School is very proud of Jace and his decision to further his education while serving his country,” Wortman said in a Thursday, May 11 email.

Martin said he began applying to the academy a year ago at the suggestion of one of the coaches from the Air Force Academy.

The arduous process, among others, required a Congressional recommendation from U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz. After a panel interview with Bentz’s advisers, Martin was named Bentz’s top pick, which increased Martin’s chances of getting accepted.

“I’m extremely grateful for that,” Martin said.

While Martin’s excited to run track, he said his larger goal is to become a military lawyer or a judge advocate general and that he would continue to place his academic endeavors first.

The opportunity at the academy, Martin said, will be phenomenal.

“Coming from a small town,” he said, “you’re not really sure these kinds of things are in your path growing up.”

Nonetheless, he said the community support brought him to where he is today.

“I’m extremely fortunate to have grown up in a place like Adrian that let me be a part of so many different things,” he said. “The support here allowed me to achieve this kind of status.

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