The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy

#028 - Brigade Boxing with Stephanie Simon '17

February 26, 2020 GRANT VERMEER Season 1 Episode 28
The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy
#028 - Brigade Boxing with Stephanie Simon '17
Show Notes Transcript

Brigade Boxing

I'm joined by Stephanie Simon who is a class of 17 graduate from the United States Naval Academy and currently serves as a United States Marine Corps Officer. Stephanie was a general science major at the academy.

Stephanie is the best if not one of the best boxers in Naval Academy history. She's a three time national champion, a two time brigade champion, and then, on top of all of that, she was also a member of the varsity track and field team and the glee club. This is one of the most impressive people that you will ever meet. As you listen to her, you'll also realize she's one of the wisest, most articulate, well thought out and well intentioned people that you will ever meet.

Stephanie breaks down how the Brigade Championships work and her experience in the Brigade Championships and National Championships.

I ask her about the inspiration she provides others and she tells us about how Sixty Minutes covered Navy Boxing and featured her.

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The mission of Academy Insider is to guide, serve, and support Midshipmen, future Midshipmen, and their families.

Grant Vermeer your host is the person who started it all. He is the founder of Academy Insider and the host of The Academy Insider podcast and the USNA Property Network Podcast. He was a recruited athlete which brought him to Annapolis where he was a four year member of the varsity basketball team. He was a cyber operations major and commissioned into the Cryptologic Warfare Community. He was stationed at Fort Meade and supported the Subsurface Direct Support mission.

He separated from the Navy in 2023 and now owns The Vermeer Group, a boutique residential real estate company that specializes in serving the United States Naval Academy community PCSing to California & Texas.

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Grant:   0:03
This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience. By sharing my stories and providing you inside information into the life of a shipment. Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy Insider is my own and does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy nor the Department of Defense. It's fight night at the United States Naval Academy. The Brigade Boxing Championships are here, so make sure to check out this episode of Academy Insider, as I am joined by Stephanie Simon, who's a Class is 17 graduate from the Naval Academy, and I'm gonna go out on a limb here. But I feel really confident in saying it. The best boxer in Naval Academy history, she's a three time national champion, a two time brigade champion, and then, on top of all of that, she was also a member of the track and field team of the varsity track and field team. While she was here, the day Academy the choir in so many other activities. This is one of the most impressive people that you will ever meet. And as you listen to her, you'll also realize she's one of the wisest, most articulate, well thought out and well intentioned people that you will ever meet. This is a super fun episode, so make sure to learn all about the Brigade Boxing Championships and hear Stephanie's story and how she acts as an influencer and a catalyst for the participation of women and combat sports. This is a must listen episode. Check it out. Let me know what you think. All right, everyone. And welcome to the academy Insider podcast. And today we are joined by Stephanie Simon. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today to talk all about the Brigade Boxing Championship. Really appreciate it.

Stephanie:   1:53
Thank you for having me here. I'm excited toe to dive into it.

Grant:   1:57
A absolutely. But before we do that, if you don't mind just telling the academy inside our audience a little bit about yourself, where you're from, how you ended up at the Naval Academy and then some background about she was as a midshipman, Um, like your company. Your major? What activities you participated in while you were mid.

Stephanie:   2:14
Okay, so I'm Stephanie Simon, originally from Atlanta, Georgia route to Washington State when I was about seven, uh, grew up heavily involved in music and combat sports. Also to track and field. That was a big one for me as well. So short off a taekwondo transition into wrestling By the time I was a junior sophomore in high school thinking about colleges, uh, the only real colleges offering any scholarships for wrestling or smaller schools. And I wanted to go toe, you know, really good school. So, you know, it's kind of battling. Like, where should I go? My dad had been telling me about this whole Naval Academy thing for a No. 56 years. He was a Marine Corps officer. Okay. Ah, and he's like, You got to do this. This is perfect for you. You know, you got good grades, you're involved in school sports. All the good stuff. So, as I said, all right, I'm gonna do it and apply it to go into the new homecoming prep school. Um, with the intent to be the first female wrestler, the Naval Academy. Unfortunately, there was no real wrestling team for women, so that dream kind of faded away a little bit. But I said to myself, You know, I got a trial, this box and things like validated since every plane has to do boxing. Mervyn, I decided that summer, you know. Please, Summer. All right. I would have more time on my schedule as a plead. So if I validate it now, I can not have to deal with this whole boxing thing later on. It turns out it ended up like falling in love with a sport. So I continued after my, uh, my my PLEAD Summer sports period. I ended up sticking a boxing and, um, also doing track and field than also doing Glee Club. At the same time, though, I was a busy. I guess you could say I was a busy plead. Um, yeah, it was. It was pretty hectic by the time I was a sophomore. Um, I had kind of and I feel like I failed a little bit a little boxing thing, cause I I tried out the whole brigades thing and I didn't want, you know, I lost in a split This isn't a decision to aim. She's now a Marine, But Samantha Glacier. So if you don't know ah, split decisions. Basically, when the fight comes down to one judge Aah! No clothes. The fight was basically, like a point difference. So she won that year when I was a freshman. You know, going to my sophomore year, I'm thinking like, dang, I really want to be a brigade champ. Um, but, you know, the back of my head. I'm thinking I'm still going to continue to track a glee club, and I'm gonna go after it again. I'm a wind brigade's I want and, you know, time time clicks and February again. And I fight the same girl I lose in a split decision again to the same person. Uh, this point, I'm kind of struggling because I'm like this boxing thing. Like what the heck? Ah, And then, at the same time, it also had picked general science is my major. Oh, no. Excuse me. I actually picked office research, has my major. I quickly switched to general science, struggled. So I'll tell you, it wasn't always easy for me at the Naval Academy like sophomore year going into junior year. I was I was having a hard time. I really wanted to be like a good boxer. I want to be a good student, but things weren't quite working. The one I mean.

Grant:   5:36
I mean, that was about it about and say sorry. D'oh!

Stephanie:   5:38
No, Here. But, like, how did how did you

Grant:   5:41
even managed to stay afloat and survive with all of the things that you were doing? Because you're talking about boxing, like, specifically now. But you were like, Ah, full wrong part of the varsity track and field team. And like all the other things, how did you manage to do that? And how did you find time to, like, survive academically through that?

Stephanie:   5:59
It was It was hard, but I I honestly figured it out by communicating with coaches and my choir teacher. My drugs because they all had a kind of work together. There was one point where I'm on Glee club tour singing in South Carolina. Ah, for spring break in, halfway through. I'm like, Okay, well, regionals is happening in two days. Um, I need to buy a plane ticket to go from Glee Club tour all the way to boxing to go box in Florida. And so, like my coaches and my again my shirt night acquire teachers. How did kind of communicate? I kind of had to get everybody on the same page, because usually people are not flexible about stuff like that. You're in a bar to export. If you're an athlete or you're involved in the Glee Club, they want you there 100% of time. But, um, there was There's some grace for me, you know? They made it work. They worked with each other's. Honestly, it's just time management. And being passionate got me through because, man, I was I was struggling, you know, up at 4 34 of day. Yeah, the training. You literally go it go it go conditioning in the morning classes, lunch lift for track classes, track and field practice, boxing practice, Glee club practice. And then I was in an additional group called the Riveters, which was a Glee Club section, part other of the Glee Club that was a cappella. And so it was just It was wild. But I'll tell you, that was the most incredible experience. Yeah, I mean, that's so

Grant:   7:37
cool. Yeah, I mean just to be 100% frank an objective. You're just tremendously impressive, like that's insane, like that's actually insane. Um, and so the fact that the fact that you did all that, but then on top of that, so you mentioned that your dad, um, was a Marine and that you have been involved in combat sports, But had you ever boxed before was like stepping in during please summer that first time, the first time you ever stepped in a boxing

Stephanie:   8:03
ring. That was the first time that ever set in boxing ring. But the mentality is exactly the same for all combat sports. It's easy. One versus one. It's a ring, a Matt. Whatever the case may be, you have nowhere to run. You have nowhere to hide. You have nobody to blame the victory. If it's yours, you take the glory. If you lose, you take the loss. There is no hiding or running or being shy when it comes to combat sports and will verse will and that, like I said across the board, that's the same in every sport. So boxing came naturally to me. In that sense, however, the transition from being in the ground really low, being kind of squared up with my opponent versus being more like a dancing type of position. Where, like, you know, you seem boxers. They dance around a little bit there, a little bit more loose. It's not as robotic is wrestling, so it was actually very difficult to transition. In that sense, they're two very different art forms, but, yeah, plea beer. That was the first time that ever stepped in the ring. And I was naturally very aggressive. Naturally, uh, the temper percent didn't quit. So boxing kind of works for me from the beginning.

Grant:   9:10
Yeah. And how do you decide to actually join the boxing team instead of just taking it as a class? So if you don't mind also just taking this time to explain a little bit to people who may not understand kind of how all midshipmen will take boxing. Like, were you telling the difference between, like, just taking a boxing class and being on the boxing team? And then how you made the decision to actually join the boxing team and do that?

Stephanie:   9:33
Okay, So in the summertime, there's sports period for all. Please. Um, you can pretty much pick whatever spot you want to do. However, ah, lot of please pick wrestling or boxing because those two sports are required for all freshmen. So every freshman, every plea has to do boxing wrestling. Ah, so when you take it in the summer, you automatically validate. So I immediately validated wrestling because I had wrestled like for many years. But I never boxed before, so I knew I wouldn't validate that. So, um, I chose I literally chose boxing to validate. I had no intention on actually continuing its fort. But I'm telling you, I remember. I'm I got in the ring, believe Summer and I hit the girl. She's a Marine now. I hit her so hard it's not. Their mouth guard went flying in the entire like everyone in the auditorium just lost their mind in that now telling entertainment aspect of fighting like, I had never really experienced that wrestling the same way. There's something about boxes, something about being in the ring that's like it's so fun. And it was just like, you know, here and let the cool and the and seeing people like loser minds. It was so fun and it was not just like the sport. That was amazing. But it was like the entertainment piece I really liked. So that's kind of why I stuck to it.

Grant:   11:00
Yeah, that's a piece.

Stephanie:   11:01
You're an entertainer. You are. But for anyone, for anyone

Grant:   11:04
doesn't know you. You're an entertainer, and I'll warm like official forums on Instagram. Whatever. You're constantly so that that's interesting. And that's fun to hear you talk about that because they're definitely is that entertainment piece. And that's way cool that that was part of your decision toe, really keep. Yeah, you're with it.

Stephanie:   11:21
And the, uh, the thing I do want to mention, though, is, ah, the special part about boxing. I guess my sophomore year was that at that point, I know I kind of left you in a clipping. At that point, my sophomore year, I lost the same girl twice in a split decision both times both year as a freshman and a youngster, and she was now on her way to be the first female four time brigade champion. But the one thing that changed everything was that in our coach, he decides that year after I lost Sam again, he goes You know what? I'm gonna I'm gonna give us a chance. I'm gonna let you three. It was us. There's three of us women on the team. I'm all you guys competing nationals. We'll see what happens. So this is the first time in naval kind of a history that, you know, there were female body females boxing in collegian national level competition and Sam and I At this point, we went different weight classes, which is kind of cool, because now I don't have to worry about beating my teammate, cause that's always, you know, kind of kind of awkward, like, yeah, I want to be your friend is what team is that same time competing to win. So that year, first time ever, I end up winning the national title. And that was a huge confidence boost going into junior year, which was the last time that me and Sam thought I could get into that, too, because that's a really special fight. That's something that I one of my favorite memories from the nail economy, But like I said now, there's his rivalry at this point because I was the first female to win nationals. But Sam was the first female to be a three time brigade champion going on her fourth wedding there. Never, never got him. Histories of female ever done that? So you have these two like heavy hitters to very, very competitive, very close and talent boxers who are now fighting for the third time. And so that's kind of a living on that,

Grant:   13:20
Yeah, before we before we jump into the actual details of that fourth fight her for her, her fourth fight in that Can you just talk a little bit about the N. C. A. A national championships when it comes to boxing? Because I know for sure I don't have a full understanding of how that works. So can you just describe the process what other schools have like boxing programs or of its just individuals at a school that get trained and kind of what was the process? Where did you go and how many fights did you have in the in the road to becoming a national champion?

Stephanie:   13:51
So it's the National Collegiate Boxing Association. Um, there's actually no divisions. There's no d. One d. Two d three. All the colleges in the nation come together in one big tournament. There's actually two divisions, but N C B A is the most competitive. So you know you got you. W have Iowa Naval Academy Army. What? Every pretty much every big school will have a tea least one or two fighters. Some teams, like U Dub have a huge team, and they bring, like, a lot of people are Mia's. Well, they have very big team s O this collegiate tournament box interment. In order to actually qualify for it, you have to be top two or three in your region. Obviously, Naval Academy falls in like the eastern region. So we have original tournament. West Coast has theirs. Um, for the naval kind of specifically, you know, you have an idea of the team, right? Who you think will be on the team based off of you know who's the best, who's the most out whatever. But the thing about brigades is that brigades turns people on their heads because sometimes you got a guy you think Sebastian weight class, and then out of nowhere, some Joe Schmo from God knows where shows up and yeah, I want to find brigades and he ends up beating the crap out of this guy who we thought was the best but actually isn't. So then that guy is able to take his place, which is the most beautiful Ingmar begins its Yeah, you were out from who? Yeah, you figure out who's gonna actually represent the team. So

Grant:   15:31
yeah, now and that's tremendously interesting, because I wanna jump into so many different details of what you just talked about. So I'm gonna break it down, kind of step by step here. So bear with me as I asked a lot of questions, huh? So the first thing is that I think in general, if someone doesn't know much about the Naval Academy, they kind of assume boxing is much like, literally, the movie Annapolis with James Franco fighting Tyreese Gibson. And that, like, literally every midshipmen in the entire school, fights in this ex extremely long like yearlong competition in order to make it two brigades, it's a little bit. It's a little bit different than that. So if you don't mind just taking a quick minute to explain, like what the Brigade Boxing Championship is, and then one like how people signed up for it cause you mentioned that there's a lot of surprises and people that you might not expect, so it's not necessarily that they have to be a part of the boxing team to participate. So can you just explain a little bit about the Brigades and then how people can enter into becoming a part of that event?

Stephanie:   16:34
So the Brigade Championships is basically who's the best fighter at each weight class in the school. You need the toughest man or woman who is the best boxer anyone can sign up. Doesn't matter where you're from. A company. What age group. Whatever E c. A this is that doesn't matter. Anybody can sign up for the brigade championships right now. Usually the people that are already on the boxing team end up winning. Yeah, that makes sense right there. Crash training right there, Chaining to be on the team. However, brigades is so amazing and special and crazy because this now opens up the team to fight anybody in the entire school. Right? So, um, two weeks before the brigade finals, you have the quarterfinals. Um, and then before that, you have a Siri's of fight nights that kind of lead up to the quarter finals. This is kind of to weed out people, cause a lot of people shops and yeah, 12 brigades. They had the face ones that are, like, never mind. So, um, that's kind of the few months before brigades. You start seeing e mails, eh? You know, 74th annual Brigade Championships. If you're interested, sign up now. So leading up to that a few weeks before you got people kind of showing up trying to gonna, you know, figure out the basics because some of these people have never box in her life. Um, you got a couple of those fight nights before, and then you finally have that. People who actually are interested in trying to do brigades they all competing to get matched up in brackets for the quarter finals. So it's literally the first week of Friday or excuse me. The second Friday in February are the 1st 2nd and third I think, or something like that. It cz three weeks in February. You're the last Friday of February Is the finals eso Each week you basically cut out and you drop whoever doesn't win their fight. So it's basically put in a bracket mixture of literally anybody. All you gotta do is way in, step on the scale and they put you in the bracket. Did you sign up? And that's that's literally all you have to do. Ah, And at that point, if you keep winning, you eventually get to the brigade finals. Um, S O brigade finals. That's this Friday. It's always the last Friday you're now are in in February. Now that the special thing about brigades is it is an extremely big alumni event. So oh, from all over the country, who box and brigade to want the Naval Academy show up. And they all wear these tuxedos And a lot of people actually, like, sit in the front row and actually place bets. It's kind of funny number old civilians were like, I'm gonna have a good time. Uh, they like a huge amount of people. Come back 77 class of 79. You know, class of 94 they come back toe watch brigade. So it's a super, super awesome event because some of those guys that come back they were like, yeah, I bought some brigades. I never box in my life, and I decided to its senior year, and I ended up winning. Just go. That's all. Something about about, um, Brigades is not just the fights. It's also the alumni that come in. But that's kind of how it works.

Grant:   19:47
Yeah, what a special night. And so when they actually get to the fighting So you're saying we have a bunch of different weight classes about how many fights are there in a night?

Stephanie:   19:58
It's around 14.

Grant:   20:00
Okay. And each fight, how many rounds are in the fight? And how long are the rounds

Stephanie:   20:05
there? Three minute round. Are there 32 minute rounds with one minute in between? I got it. And in between each fight, you get a walkout song. Who? I'll talk about my walk outside because it was actually funny. But yes, you're gonna walk out song and a super dramatic. And you have gold versus blue. All the fighters are broken up into different tops, different tank tops. And ah, you basically come out on your side. Your opponent comes out on the other side, get your walk out song, you get in the ring, and then you just go at it. So, um, you know you How are you

Grant:   20:42
feeling? Your effort Like your plea beer the first time that you're walking out in front of the entire brigade out there watching and you're making your way out there. Were you nervous at all? The first time that you, like, stepped out on, like, the big scale with a ton of people watching her. You just ready to go?

Stephanie:   20:58
Oh, I wasn't ready. And, you know, they they put your face in your name, your company, all your stuff. In your age, they put it on the little Megatron Megatron thing in the middle of the alumni hall. Yeah, and you're just looking at your, like, Holy cow. I'm actually I'm actually about to go fight this person in front of thousands of people. It was actually terrifying. And I remember I had, like, this really short hair. I look super awkward, Justus. Funky. Weird, please. Who didn't have too much experience in boxing at that point? Because, you know, honestly, at that point, I had really box, maybe a couple months, because I was going between track and Glee club and struggling to school, and so I kind of took a break after please. Year from boxing. And by the time I got into brigades, I had really only boxed honestly, about 34 months. Yeah, I didn't feel ready. My my opponent was definitely more prepared. Somehow I was able to hold on and almost won that fight.

Grant:   21:58
Yeah, and so who's officiating these matches like, Who's that? Who's the referee in all of this?

Stephanie:   22:02
So they have a rotation, but it's, you know, USA boxing referees. Okay, Rum all over the nation, I've actually seen some of them in some of the big, bigger fights, like the Olympic trials qualifier that I found in a few months ago. I saw a referee from brigades, so these guys were just officials from all over the nation. But usually the same people come back every year.

Grant:   22:27
Fantastic. All right, well, now we've kept the kept the audience waiting a little too long now. So now what? Now we want to get to your junior year. You're coming off being a national champion, right? You win the national championship your sophomore year. Yeah, but you're not. But you're not satisfied, you

Stephanie:   22:43
know? Absolutely not. I'm like, yeah, you know, I'm getting all this praise and everyone's so proud of me. And, you know, first female national champion, How does it feel like is great, but I literally lost to the same person for my own school twice. And they're both split decisions, and they're both close. And I I'm not happy, Still, right. But at this point, I switched majors to general science. I'm doing better in school. I'm doing better in track and field. I'm actually, like, you know, top one out at the point. At that point in time, I was one of the top throwers, um, in the school's history in discus. And so I was like, starting to kill that starting to do well, finally, after struggling for, like, 23 years, naps included. So things started to click and, you know, building up to this moment. You know, February came around quick, but there was a huge change mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I felt like this is my year, and this is gonna be it. And I've been working and training and working the small, fine details like this is gonna be the year And then out of nowhere, uh, my coach, you know, brings a team and goes, Hey, guys. Uh, 60 minutes wants to do a segment on Hannity boxing, and so we're all way usually get. So there's a lot of cameras and, you know, our coach. You know, McNally's. He's nonchalant about everything. He acts like It's not a big deal. We're like there's literally gonna be cameras and important people walking around. Asking us questions, of course, is the big deal they were there for. They came in our practices and interviewed and ask questions for a couple of weeks. So it was kind of cool. Come in. And they really wanted to focus on Sam and I because that that, ah, that brigades for the first time again another first time our fight was going to be the first female fight in brigade history. That was the man event. So if you're the main event, that's gonna that means you're the most anticipated. Usually it's heavyweights. It's like the big boys, you know. The exchange blows the head boom, boom, boom. There's blood everywhere because they're huge and strong. Coach intentionally made sure that our fight was the main event because I kid you not like people were talking about who's in went like Samantha Glacier the three time Brigade champ or Steffy, side of the national champ who's always come short. And so when you know, 60 minutes is, you know, they're asking those questions at one point, you know, they interview me, and they ask me, ask me about my relationship with, you know, we had the glacier, and I basically make it simple. My dear friend of me is right. We're friends. We're friends for most, a year until he comes to brigades. And there were, like, basically enemies. And so I explained that the situation, you know, I got asked, like, Do you think you could do it? I said absolutely. You know, Is there a lot of pressure? Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of pressure. And, um, but the other day, Like what? You step in the ring that you really don't know what's gonna happen. So that's kind of come on, how it all went down. They, uh they taped brigades, and, um, you know, again, I got my cornrows and night flew by and again, 60 minutes is still there. They're doing their thing, videotaping everything s

Grant:   26:12
So what? You're Yes. So what's your walk out song for this night. So now you're ready to go. I want to get into your mind. What's your mental preparation? What do you do in different this year? What do you walking out to? How you getting hyped up for this fight?

Stephanie:   26:23
Right. So this year, I'm like, Okay, I know I'm good enough to be a big agent. If I'm good enough to be a national champ, right this point, I have confidence. Just what I'm I'm better my time management cause of doing better in school. So I'm able to focus more on boxing. So instead of doing that three month preparation for brigades, I started off strong from that summer training, working on head movement, working on accuracy of my punches, utilizing my kids, you know, uh, throwing power from the legs on just the arms, just like just main details of boxing and being slick, using my natural athleticism, my ability to dance because it's a dance, you know, using all those things instead of using brute strength and the typical wrestler style of boxing where you go ahead first and you just take every punch. That's not gonna work, you know that just it wasn't working for me even though I liked doing it that way. You know, wrestlers are like that. I am gonna take that brunches. I'm strong. I said, screw that. I'm gonna go in and I'm unused technique. And I'm going to basically win by skill speaking accuracy. That was my mentality from from the beginning. And so Ah, what? My walk out song was summer 16 by drink. And the reason why I picked that song is because the beginning goes looking looking, looking for revenge in the beaches drops. Hey, I That was literally what I was looking for. I was looking for revenge because I felt like ding in my my brigade titles. Never mind. You know, it was not that freshman year, sophomore year. I want my revenge. I want to get it. So I remember specifically when that beat drop that's when I walked in. I took my sweet time walking to the bank. That song was playing in my head. As soon as I ducked my head under to get in the ring, something felt different. Nothing felt different than any other time. I fought Sam and I knew I knew I had this as soon as I stepped in that ring and I looked at her innocent of thinking like I'm gonna kill you. It was I'm gonna be smooth. I'm gonna move my head. I might be slick, I'm gonna out box you. And that's exactly what I did. And I won unanimous decision. And it was a feeling in my knees was all dramatic and crime, But it was very important because I worked so hard to get there, you know?

Grant:   28:49
And would you say that that is You're, like, most fond memory from your time boxing at the academy. Like, Was that the peak?

Stephanie:   28:56
Absolutely. That was more special than any national title one night to win two more. After that, I want three national titles. Um, I've computed I actually fought a few months ago, and I'd be the three time Golden Gloves champion from Chicago, be her. And this is still the most special. Honest is most special when I've ever experienced, cause I was in front of my friends and my family. My whole track team was there and they paint It's go Stephanie on their stomachs and like my mom went there and this really old cross country coach who's a grouchy old man always made fun of me. I have a guy him to show up, and he was like, cafeteria and I gave him a very special time. And you know what's really special? The most special part about this all is I found out a year and 1/2 ago after I go about two brigades now and I go see how they're doing and go help coach this midshipman. She's now a second glass. She tells him, You know what? Uh, Lieutenant Simon, I remember watching you on 60 minutes, and I looked at my mom and at this point I knew was gonna go to hell. Kindness and Mom, I'm gonna do that in that year. Uh, she ended up winning in brigades, and she did exactly that. So she told me that seeing you know, me on 60 Minutes fighting Sam inspired her to box and inspired her to become a brigade champion that just, like, give me chills. And I realized that my purpose and all of our purpose as fighters is a sin. A shipment. It's not just about us, but it's about, you know, the the inspiration that we have on others. And it isn't

Grant:   30:33
so that that is so amazing. And I think even more than just that one specific example there are far more women that are now boxing at the Naval Academy. Oh, yeah? How do you How do you feel about that? How do you feel about being a catalyst in increasing the participation of women in these combat sports and specifically, boxing at the academy?

Stephanie:   30:53
First off, that's give credit to Jose Arroyo first lieutenant, because that man I was awarded, I was given. I was appointed the title of captain of the track team, but also captain to the boxing team. And as soon as that happened, I knew that I was not gonna be able to do both. So I gave my position 1% away to him, and I told the whole team I said, Look, he's gonna be the captain. He knows more about boxing. He's in. He'll commit more time to you guys. And when I tell you that that man singlehandedly coached that an entire team and specifically focus a lot on the women and transformed everything, I'm not kidding. Like that's what he did. He taught me most of what I know. Ah, I think I was a figure. I was a A role model to young women. I was kind of the person to show them that they can do it. But when it comes to coaching and it comes to structure of the team, I got 100%. Give that to, uh, to Jose a royal butt. Um, being an inspiration, it's amazing. End I am. When I when I first started, there's one or two girls on the team. Last year there were 20 girls on the team and they actually want the national title championship team championship. United States Stable economy was number one in the country that the women's steam was number one in the entire country. Ah, the most national champions. And so to see that difference from one, like I literally sparred 90% men because there was no women team to sing that. Now they have, like, 20 girls and they have multiple national champions. It just it's amazing feeling. And I'm I'm so happy. And I'm so glad that, uh, I was able to be a part of that, that Ah, that whole thing and yeah, yeah, I don't

Grant:   32:42
know that. It's it's that's truly special, is what it is. And I have before. We kind of just I do want to talk about Maura about that and just the straight warrior ethos within boxing. But I still have one more question. That's more like straight information as it relates to the academy is how do they actually make that decision of who goes on to fight and like the national championship competitions do? Does it? Is it the winners from brigades that move on? Or is it hand selected? Like, How does that process work of who gets to then move on and fight in the national championship

Stephanie:   33:15
95% of time? If you win brigades, you're gonna ever being on the Nash on the national team? Um, no. Uh, that's the thing that some people don't even realize that there's been shipment that actually have skills and actually like a really good at boxing because you're either doing another sport and their main season or they got school going on, so they're not able to commit time. But, um, a lot of times, and there's a couple football players Kable, uh, track guys who are then able to, especially senior year when you know things kind of die down a little bit before graduation are able to actually compete at nationals and beyond for that short amount of time on the effort. From the most part of you and brigades, there's a very high chance that you'll go on Thio Regionals and the Nationals. So that's kind of how it was. Random discoveries are made like we had no idea you could fight. Um, I have a friend. She was a lacrosse player. She ends up winning brigades, and she ends up being a national champion after literally fighting for her first year. So, yeah, it's phenomenal.

Grant:   34:30
It's it's so cool. Um and so I kind of wanna turn it now, Um, or to just a little bit of advice and wisdom from the wise soul that you are. Thank you. How do you How do you feel about boxing and in terms of what do you think so special about boxing? And what would you tell if there's AH person in high school right now? Wants attend? The academy is thinking about boxing. What would you tell them about boxing? And if there's a young woman out there listening. Would you have any specific advice? Um, to a young woman may be interested in boxing at the Naval Academy

Stephanie:   35:05
course. No. If that young woman would want a box five years ago would have told her Hey, you know, it's gonna be lonely. If she's going now, I'm gonna tell her. Hey, you're gonna have a whole team of women to support you, and you're gonna be in good hands. So that's the first thing I would tell her. You know, is things have changed, and you may have heard that they're not a whole lot of women team back in the day. But guess what, girl. Now there's a whole 17 20 women on the team, so you are good to go. Um, What I will tell anybody else And what I would say about boxing is that box he makes you better at life. Uh, the reason why I say that is because everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face. That's not just in a ring. That's not just you know, when you're out there brigades or at nationals and you're fighting against some, you know, some random person. It's not just in that case, it's in every case in life, you know, you have a plan. You have all these great aspirations and dreams. But then they're gonna be times you get punched in the face They're gonna be times where you fail where you just don't quite cut it, will you Just You fall on your face and things don't go the way you want them And you're just looking around like What am I doing? Why am I here? Why should I even keep trying? What's the point? I'm just a big failure. And nothing I do is working. That is literally what happens in boxing all the time. Right? And your job, your job in boxing is to figure out how to hit, get hit in the face and come back right? Come back at that person, you know, you hit them back, right? You don't just get in the face and crying. Oh, this hurts. I don't want to be that I don't want this anymore. You can't get out of the ring. You have. You have a certain amount of time you're in. That ring with That person is the best thing you could do is come back, right? Come back for them. Come back with him with the job. You know, you get on your offense and you go for it. You know, you don't just take punches. You don't just sit there and take it all and, you know, just crumble. You don't do that life either. You know, you're going to you're going to struggle with adversity. You're gonna experience that. And if you come back and you stand up, you get up on your two feet and you say, You know what? I know I'm struggling right now, and I know this is hard, and I know that things may not seem right, but I will not give up. And I don't care how many times life kicks me down. I can Sometimes I get punched in the face by life. Nothing will stop me from from put my head down and moving forward And I will keep going until I have no more breath and right in my lungs. That's the kind of mentality have tohave as a man shipment as a kind, intelligent, as a zone officer and as a successful human, you have to be resilient like that. And I kid you not like I've learned that at a very young age, from wrestling and through my career, the never kind of me boxing. I've learned that fighting in general is so applicable to life. And that's what I would say is get ready to to experience that, too. Where, like if you can handle adversity, you can handle the pain and still come out that person and not give up boxing. You know what? It'll work out for you. That's that's what I say. You motivate me. Warrior motive ever. Uh

Grant:   38:27
ah. Uh uh, I I love it. Do you have before we jump into our final We call it lightning round of questions here, which is just generic to the Naval Academy for former MMA gym in you have anything else you want to leave the audience with, um, about anything?

Stephanie:   38:42
Yeah, um, for me personally. And I know everyone's go, it goes through it. But before something incredible happens, things fall apart. A lot of the time, I felt that in high school, you know, being on J v basketball and realizing why I quit wrestling. I suck at basketball. I want to go back and going into wrestling and not doing well, losing and losing, losing two years for me to finally Wednesday title to be a national rate. It took time and it took a lot of failing before I got there. Get to the Naval kind of. It's the same dang thing, right? I show up, I start boxing, I start doing this whole Glee Club thing. I can't remember my words. My Glee Club structures like, What's wrong with you? You're musically gifted, but you can't remember anything. You kind of suck. And so I look and I'm losing in boxing. And then something happens and things start to click. And then I become three time national champion. I go on to be, you know, a brigade champion two times get champion and then right, and I'm going through it again. Right now. I'm a lieutenant, and I feel like I'm just failing at life, and I'm just struggling. But something clicked very recently, and I know deep down in my heart that every couple of years you kind of just you have to be humbled in life and you're gonna feel like men. I am not a low right now, and that's okay. And usually when you feel like that, when you feel like you're just, like was going on, like why am I not myself? Why am I struggling so hard? Usually that means that something great's gonna happen. And I truly feel right now that I'm being prepared to do something awesome. So just for anybody listening, like take my I hope you take my advice and and know that you're not just gonna fail, you're not gonna fall apart. You're not gonna be a loser. That's just how life is. And usually when you struggle like that, something great is about to happen. So that's what I'll leave you with that. Yeah.

Grant:   40:36
You're special person staff. I'm telling you. Crazy. All

Stephanie:   40:40
right. Hey, love. Appreciate it.

Grant:   40:45
Um, all right, well, let's jump into a little more light hearted lightning round of questions. Here again. These are questions that asked all former mid shipment starting off with. I know we're talking about being in the ring a lot, but what is your favorite spot on the art? Where's your favorite place to be on the Naval Academy campus?

Stephanie:   41:02
You know, thinking about that, and I don't want to say the boxing ring. What? Honestly, one of my favorite spots on the yard is in the discus ring. Okay, to be honest with you, Um, no, but I I don't know. I feel Yeah, I just It's very it's very soothing. And look out and see the beautiful track. And I see the grass, and I got the marks and I don't know, I feel like I'm one with that with that, uh, that disk is Nobody's in the ring with me all alone by myself. And I be able to just do my thing, because that's what this

Grant:   41:43
probably love it. All right. I like it. Moving on now into King Hall. What was your favorite meal in King Hall? Buff

Stephanie:   41:52
chicks. And what muffler chickens now is You're gonna explain that when you have buffalo chicken sandwiches? Yeah, some people don't know. That isn't what was above chick? Yeah. Buffalo chicken sandwiches down like, by far my favorite. I don't know, the chicken was

Grant:   42:06
good. You get ae Ah, yeah, real good. All right, now, making it back to a little bit more sentimental, So kind of throwing it back. Who or what could be a person or event is the biggest influence to your leadership style that you have today that you can trace back to your time at the academy.

Stephanie:   42:28
I would say first started Abbott. Um, at the time she was Gunny Abbott. She was like, the drill master. Um, yeah, he was able to really dig into people and scare the crap out of them. But also be such a good leader that you wanted nothing more in life than to just make her proud and to just do well and to be the best you could possibly She had that effect on people. And that's 100% would have I wanted to have on my Marines that same effect. So I talked to her, and I'm I mean frequently

Grant:   42:59
as well. I love that answer. I love her, and I couldn't agree more. Um, yeah, big big shout out there because he's absolutely phenomenal. Um, all right, in the last question is, what advice would you give someone who may be interested in attending the academy about what to consider when they're trying to decide if the Naval Academy is the right place for them to go to school.

Stephanie:   43:26
So, um, I would say that you if you are interested, if the first thing I would I would I really want you to ask yourself is how well rounded oven individual and my am I very one sided in my kind of multi talented I have money. I don't know how to put it, I guess. Am I physically fit? Am I, uh, decent academics and my involved Do I get along with other people like you really gotta ask yourself that because you will be challenged pretty much in every way possible at the Naval Academy. If you're not good with people in public speaking and I guess like social skills, you're gonna kind of struggle because you have yet obviously have your peers, that that grade you, you get, you know, evaluated by a company officer, and you're constantly gonna have to speak in front of people. So you got to be comfortable kind of going in that lane. You also have to be physically fit because you're tested on that twice a year. Still twice. You're right, PMT. Yep. And then academically, it's the same thing. It's Ah, you You've gotta remember. Like even if you're an English major or not a technical major. You're still gonna have to take chemistry. Calculus, physics. Mother name is injury. You think all those things. So before you end up, you know, applying Ask yourself how well rounded of the individual am I? And if if I were to go to the Naval Academy, what will be my Achilles Hill? You know what it be? Academics would be my communication skills. My people skills wouldn't be my athletics like Hi, my physical fit. Because at the end of day, like I said, you have to be very well rounded to survive. I don't say survive, but to threat, but no, but yet survive. Let's remember to 0.3. Okay? It was their survival. And my Keeley Steele, as you all probably know by now, was academics. I was pretty tough for me, and, um, I had to learn how to become a good student very quickly there. So that's kind of advice. It's

Grant:   45:38
only about fair man and three time to time for gates and all Star friggin track and field. You got too much. So I don't even know how you got a 23 I didn't even show up to class.

Stephanie:   45:52
I don't know. I don't

Grant:   45:53
know how you did it, but, um,

Stephanie:   45:55
I thought

Grant:   45:55
the point that you made about being good with people is really important to consider. And I think that's something that a lot of people don't consider. I mean, that that's what it comes down to being a midshipman and even being an officer's is dealing with people leading people being kind, getting to know people still holding standards and home people combo. But how are you gonna interact with people? Are you gonna be a person who, you know, is rubs people the wrong way or you gonna foster an environment? Um, that makes people comfortable and willing to work. Is that exactly? I really I really appreciate that insight. Well, um, staff, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come on and talk to all of us about the brigade boxing Championship providing us with this information. We really, really appreciate it.

Stephanie:   46:40
I'm honored to be a part of this, and I hope to see you all this Friday. If you're around the Naval Academy 1900 for the brigade Finals, I'll be down there in my little alumni hat, holding mitts for people in green money and a lot of Ross. So hopefully see you guys there

Grant:   46:57
capsule. Really? All right. Well, the academy inside of the audience. I hope you'll have a great day and hope you enjoyed the episode. Thanks.

Stephanie:   47:03
Thank you. Like

Grant:   47:05
All right. Well, I hope you guys all enjoyed that episode and learning about the Brigade Boxing Championships. And I hope you enjoyed listening to Stephanie Simon. As much as I enjoy talking to her. What an impressive person she is like, I just can't believe it. She constantly just has me an utter admiration of who she is and what she does. So I hope you guys enjoyed it. But it's always please be sure to leave me a review on Apple podcast and subscribe. And then, most importantly, if you ever have any questions, reach out to me a crane at academy and better dot com, or find more content on my Facebook page Academy insider on my website, www dot academy insider dot com And as always, thank you so much for letting me be your guide to the United States Naval Academy