Newport High School Wrestling Duo Trains Sights on Navy, Army
Newport High School senior wrestlers Matt Tremblay, left, and Dan Huot, right, are applying for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point, respectively. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Dan Huot, who wrestles at 132 pounds, has a grandfather who served in World War II. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Matt Tremblay, who made the state finals at 220 pounds last year, is the son of a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport senior Matt Tremblay hopes to wrestle at Navy; for this winter, however, his goal is winning an NHIAA title, something he nearly accomplished last year. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport senior wrestlers Matt Tremblay, left, and Dan Huot are applying for admission to the US Naval Academy and West point, respectively. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport senior wrestler Dan Huot practices with the team at Newport High School. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport senior wrestler Matt Tremblay is applying for admission to the US Naval Academy. (Rob Strong photograph) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport — Newport is known for having the longest-running winter carnival. Its high school has a trophy case full of state football championships, and the community will always be known at The Sunshine Town.
These are things that make a community proud — to stick its chest out. And now there is another reason that should make this town of 5,000 stand up and be counted: On this winter’s Newport High School wrestling team is a pair of seniors that not only have 4.0 grade-point averages, but hope to be attending military schools next summer. Dan Huot has his eyes on the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., while Matt Tremblay is hoping his future is waiting at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
When Huot was much younger, he found out how proud his grandfather was to have served in World War II. “He was dignified in that he knew he served his country,” said Huot. “My parents have always instilled in me that the best way I can honor my country is to give something back.”
Matt Tremblay has been surrounded by the presence of the military all his life. His father, James, is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy who also served In Iraq. Grandfather Wilfred was an Air Force pilot in Vietnam, and his great-grandfather was in the Navy during World War II. Also, Tremblay’s older brother, Joe, was accepted to West Point before eventually chosing to go to Yale.
But for now Tremblay, 17, and Huot, 18, are doing what normal high school students do — study, play sports and await final acceptance letters to their colleges of choice.
One item that is relative to both students is the satisfaction they got from the education offered at Newport. Even though there were other educational opportunities available, both Tremblay and Huot are delighted with what they are taking away from Newport.
“I don’t think Newport gets enough credit when it comes to educational opportunities,” said Tremblay. “Everything is here that you need. You just have to apply yourself. Those that don’t apply themselves have nobody but themselves to blame.”
Longtime Newport wrestling coach Jeremy Almstrom is pleased to hear such a report.
“It blows my mind when I hear negative talk about Newport High School,” said Almstrom, now in his 11th year as the varsity wrestling coach. “Those people don’t know what they are talking about.“
Tremblay, who hopes to wrestle for Navy, is a 220-pounder who made it all the way to the finals in the state meet last year, losing to Plymouth’s Dakota Simula. Tremblay kind of cringes when Simula’s name comes up, as he lost three times to him last year.
“In the first match I was sick, and it was close in the second match,” he said.
So what happened in that third match for the state championship? “He pinned me,” said Tremblay with a grimace.
Tremblay didn’t know for sure if Simula had graduated, but Almstrom knew: “Oh, yeah, he’s back.”
Tremblay said there was some opposition at home to his going to a service school, but at the start of this school year, “I pretty much had my mind made up that it was going to be the Naval Academy.”
Huot, who wrestles at 132 pounds, has been a history buff for a long time and hopes to study military history at West Point.
“I used to read a lot of biographies and noticed that a lot of the great military leaders were West Point graduates,” said Huot. “That certainly piqued my interest, and now military history is my passion. Mistakes were made in all the wars. I love reading about those wars, and I want to learn from their mistakes.”
Both Huot and Tremblay have had to deal with what life will be like after growing up in a small town and then heading off to a major military academy. “Certainly it’s a great unknown,” said Huot. “But as someone said, I’ll be getting a $500,000 education for free.”
Almstrom kind of gushes when he talks about coaching Tremblay and Huot. “They’re just so mature and easy to coach,” he said. “You know they also take part in a lot of activities at the school and around town. They are just two great citizens. I won’t be the least bit surprised if they both turn out to be very successful.”
Or as Newport athletic director Doug Beaupre put it, “I have been most impressed with their ability to handle difficult situations while remaining extremely positive. As students, their ability to deal with the many day-to-day challenges of academics (and), as people, their ability to reach goals and give the very best toward the attainment of them. Newport High School is extremely lucky to have both these young men participating in the many programs and activities that they do.”