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Clarion Area Football And Wrestling Standout Thomas Wurster Joins U.S. Marines (05/22/18)

Often, when a graduating athlete, is All-State in football and a participant in the State Wrestling Tournament, the athlete has several decisions to make. Which school am I going to go to? Should I wrestle? Should I play football?

(Photo by Melissa Shoemaker) (Seated)Tom Wurster (displaying PFC certificate) flanked by his parents, Mike and Stacie. (Back Row L-R) Bobcat Wrestling Coach Brian Luton, Marine Recruiters PFC Charles Cook, Sgt Ralph Torres and Bobcat Football Coach Wiser.

Well, Clarion Area’s Thomas Wurster was named All-State in football and made it to the State Wrestling Tournament. But, he didn’t have to make a choice of which college to attend or which sport to continue in. You see, Tom has had a good idea what his life’s path would be, from a young age.

He had long had a desire to serve in the military. Thomas had this to say about that desire, “I didn’t really grow up in a military family, but I knew people who served and they said it was some of the best times of their lives, so I knew I was going to serve at a very young age. My father has always said joining would be the best option for me, but I never really acknowledged that until the day I enlisted.”

Thomas decided on the Marines and enlisted early.  He shared his reasons to be a Marine, “I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, June 22nd 2017, in the delayed entry program.  I enlisted for a specific reason, to become a part of something greater than myself and be alongside people who actually wanted to be where I am, day in and day out.

Like I said before, I joined so I can become a part of something greater than myself.  I also joined for another reason, discipline. That’s a trait I’m lacking in my life and I don’t know where to find it. I know they’ll teach me that.”

What are his plans for his service? “My m.o.s (aka job in the Marines) is a construction engineer. My plan is to work that job a year or two and then try out for Recon, (Special Forces).”

(Photo by Kenn Staub) Tom Wurster in a home match this past season

He has been busy preparing for the Marine Corps for a while now. Thomas said, “One Saturday every month, my fellow Marine Corps Poolees and I head down to the Butler Recruiting Station and meet up with other Poolees from the surrounding area and participate in Marine Corps PT.  That usually lasts around three hours. And then we all head back home.”

Thomas feels that Clarion Area athletics has helped him to prepare. He said, “Playing sports for Clarion led me down a road that I will never forget. They taught me to never quit.  Quitting is not an option in any branch, but I believe the Marine Corps expresses it a little more than others. Quitting can either get you or your fellow servicemen killed, and that is unacceptable. Doing whatever it takes to execute your job and do it to the best of your ability is something I admire, and I would also like to have that instilled into me as well.”

It sure sounds like Thomas has caught hold of the Marine Corps Motto: “Semper fidelis” (Always faithful).

(Photo by Bri Nellis/Bri Nellis Photography) Familiar scene this past fall, Thomas Wurster, with “Old Glory” leading the Bobcats onto the field

Bobcat Football Coach Larry Wiser had this to say about Thomas, “Tom Wurster was a very good football player for Clarion these past 3 years. What has always stood out to me about Tom was his willingness to do the things necessary to be great. I will always remember the two words that most often came out of his mouth, ‘yes sir.’ I am very proud of this young man and will always tell people I got to Coach Tom Wurster”.

Bobcat Wrestling Coach Brian Luton said, “Tom had a very nice career. He was one of our captains this season and qualified for the State tournament. We will definitely miss having Tom in our line-up next season, he left some big shoes to fill. Tom is a big guy that has unusual speed and quickness for his size. This combination allowed him to be a dominant force on the mat.

“We wish Tom the best of luck!”

Coach Luton shared some of Thomas’ accomplishments, “Tom was 29-9 during his Senior season and 67-29 overall.  He was a two time finalist and one time Champ at the Patrick J. Morales Tournament, 3rd Place at the Fred Bell Memorial,  a two time District 9 Finalist and North West Regional Qualifier, a 4th place finisher at the North West Regional Tournament and a PIAA State Meet qualifier, and Lasagna Challenge Winner  at Finnici’s in Hershey.”

On the gridiron, Thomas had 43 tackles and 13 tackles for loss his senior season. He was First Team All-KSAC, First Team Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express All-Stars and Second Team Pennsylvania Football News All-State.

Thomas will leave on June 11th, for Basic Training, at Parris Island, SC. Thomas will enter as a Private First Class, instead of just private because he had some referrals so he earned a rank up.

Thomas is also joining quite a group of former Bobcat athletes, who are either in the military or in law enforcement. Some of those who have graduated in recent years:

Brothers Matt Snyder and Christian Snyder (United States Marine Corps) and their cousin Lewis Armstrong (Philadelphia Police Academy)

Brothers Kristopher Burkhart (United States Air Force) and Alexander Burkhart (United States Army)

Ian Corbett (United States Marine Corps)

Jacob Troutman (United States Army)

Micheal McCloskey (United States Army)

Evan Maxwell (Clarion Borough Police Deparment)

Corbin Ragley (Clarion University Police Department)

(Great decision Thomas!!!! I echo Coach Wiser’s comment, I’ll remember you for ‘Yes sir.’ It has been my absolute pleasure getting to know you and watch you grow from a boy to a man these last few years!!!! And thank you and all those listed above and to all members of the military and law enforcement!!!!)