Zach Peck made the most important decision of his life after being honored as one of the country’s best student-athletes.
After Peck returned from Texas last weekend, he made a verbal commitment to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to continue his education and play football.
Zach said he would like to become an aviation officer.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Peck said the Navy coaches have talked to him about playing outside linebacker or maybe even some tight end.
Peck, a senior at Windsor High School, will be the second student-athlete from Windsor to attend the Naval Academy.
Jacob Moses, a 2012 WHS graduate, is a sophomore at the Naval Academy and an all-around gymnast on the men’s gymnastics team.
Peck, 18, and nine other student-athletes from around the country were selected as finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. The son of Terisa and Bruce Peck of Windsor, Peck and the other finalists — male and female — traveled to the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in San Antonio, which was held in the Alamodome on Jan. 4, and participated in various activities.
“The whole experience down there was awesome,” Peck said. “Meeting the Hall of Famers and the very high up ranked military sergeants in the Army and being able to meet all the other finalists was really cool. Everyone was just awesome there. It’s really cool to see how other people around the country are doing kind of the same things that I’ve been taught to do, and who carry themselves at the same standards.”
The Award for Excellence program focuses on athletic achievement, excellence in academics and community involvement.
Peck was the only Colorado student-athlete to receive the nomination. Other student-athletes among the 10 were from Michigan, Indiana, Arizona, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas and Kentucky.
Andrew Way, a high school senior from Conner High School in Hebron, Ky., was named the recipient of the award during the awards show Jan. 3.
Peck, who was honored at a leadership luncheon and the awards banquet at the Alamodome, met Pro Football Hall of Famers Rod Woodson and Anthony Muñoz.
“We are extremely proud of Zach and his accomplishment in being selected as only one of 10 national finalists for this honor,” said Zach’s mother, Terisa. “We are also very grateful to be surrounded by a great community, school, teachers and coaches in Windsor which have all helped Zach get to this point in his development as a young man. We really feel blessed as a family and look forward to seeing what the future holds for Zach.”
As for his future at the Naval Academy, Peck said: “After spending the weekend in San Antonio and seeing all the military stuff, it really motivated me to not only play football for Navy but to be able to go and serve my country in the military. That motivated me to actually commit.”
Peck, a standout starter at defensive end for the Wizards the last two years, carries a 3.8 grade-point average and takes advanced-placement and college-level classes at Windsor High School.
A member of the National Honor Society who helps coach his little brother’s football and basketball teams, Peck and his father are involved with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., which according to its website is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.
Peck’s father served 22 years in the Navy.
Peck was surrounded in San Antonio by many of his relatives. WHS athletic director Mark Kanagy was also on hand to honor Peck.