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Westmont Hilltop’s Don Shovestull, shown wrestling Fort LeBoeuf’s Evan Daley in Hershey on March 8, plans to wrestle for the U.S. Naval Academy.

Westmont's Shovestull taking talents to Navy

By: Eric Knopsnyder

JOHNSTOWN — Don Shovestull is used to discipline and structure.
He knows how to set goals and then take the steps to achieve them.
He did it on his way to becoming and Eagle Scout and a state qualifier for the Westmont Hilltop wrestling team.
Now, he’s ready to apply those same lessons to his next challenge.
Shovestull announced on Thursday that he plans to wrestle for the U.S. Naval Academy.
“It’s exciting,” the 230-pound senior said. “It’s a challenge. It will be unlike any other college experience. It will be unique, but I think I’m up for the challenge, and this is what I wanted.”
Hilltoppers coach Matt Beaujon, who already sent one wrestler to the Navy wrestling program in Westmont grad Mike Brant, expects Shovestull to do well at the Naval Academy.
“He’s a custom fit for the academy because of how well-rounded he is – from the classroom to what he does on the athletic fields to his other extracurricular activities,” Beaujon said. “He’s an ideal candidate for where he’s going and I’m sure he’s going to thrive.”
Shovestull definitely is well-rounded. In addition to wrestling, he’s on the football and track and field teams. He even joined Westmont’s tennis team this season.
He also has a 94 percent grade-point average and was a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association’s All-Academic Team.
On the wrestling mat, Shovestull had a career record of 74-31, including a 31-9 mark as a senior. He finished one victory short of earning a medal at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships last month.
“He’s one of those guys that he’s here because of his hard work,” Beaujon said. “I’ve seen him progress from the junior high level to where he is now. At the collegiate level you need to constantly keep improving and updating your wrestling style. He’s one of those guys that, year to year, he just kept improving. I see him doing the same thing at the Naval Academy.”
Shovestull will have an extra year to make improvements, as he’ll head to the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, R.I., before enrolling at the academy in Annapolis, Md.
After making so much improvement over the past few years, Shovestull wasn’t about to give up the sport.
“I decided that no matter where I went to school I was going to wrestle, it didn’t matter what division or what school,” he said.
He also was accepted into the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and had talked to Franklin & Marshall, York College and Clarion.
Shovestull expects the wrestling team to help him with his adjustment to military life.
“Especially going to a place like the Naval Academy, it’s going to be different,” he said.
“You need to have a good support group there and, being on a team, that will be the group that I can be with.”
Shovestull also thinks that his experiences as an Eagle Scout will help him.
“Eagle Scout prepares you for basically everything in life,” he said. “It’s probably one of the best programs and the best things I’ve ever done in my life. it’s really helped me out. Eagle Scout and the Keystone Boys State are two of the biggest things they look for on applications, so it definitely played a big factor in it.”
Beaujon said he’s already seen the kind of leadership skills that the Naval Academy is looking for in the men and women who will one day become officers.
“He wasn’t just a bright spot in our lineup on match days, but he was also a leader in the mat room,” Beaujon said. 
“We had a lot of young kids, a lot of young, big kids. And he took a lot of those kids under his wing.”
Shovestull said he’ll probably wrestle 285 pounds in college.
The next lowest weight in college is 197 pounds, which he hasn’t seen since his freshman year at Westmont Hilltop.
“Once I get there and start working out, the weight could come off easily,” he said. “It all depends, but most likely heavyweight.”
He is the son of Don and Barb Shovestull of Upper Yoder Township.