Sophomore linebacker Christiansen named Army football captain for next season
By SAL INTERDONATO | The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. | Published: April 17, 2018
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — Cole Christiansen threw his name in the mix for Army football captain two weeks ago.
Christiansen, a sophomore linebacker, met with the coaching staff to express his interest. The coaches polled a small group of Christiansen's teammates to see if the returning starter could fill the role.
Captains would be determined by a full team vote and announced at the end of the Black-Gold spring game last Friday night.
Head coach Jeff Monken called out Christiansen's name along with senior center Bryce Holland and junior fullback Darnell Woolfolk as Army's 2018 captains.
Christiansen is the fifth sophomore to be named captain in the last 30 years, joining tight end Clint Dodson (2000), defensive lineman Clarence Holmes (2001), linebacker Steve Anderson (2009) and linebacker Jeremy Timpf (2015).
"I don't know if anything really changed from last year," said Christiansen, whose 84 tackles were second on the team in 2017. "I think I just really did my job (this spring). That's all I really can do. I guess they (his teammates) kind of took notice that I am doing my job and I am being more of a vocal presence and I'm trying to lead by example."
Two years ago, Christiansen was a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Suffolk, Va. Now Christiansen will be the first non-senior captain in the last three decades to attend West Point directly. Dodson, Holmes, Anderson and Timpf attended Army Prep before West Point.
"I have so much pride (in being a non-senior captain)," Christiansen said. "I'm not really nervous about being a junior versus a senior. I'm really excited and it's definitely a huge honor to be recognized by my team."
Holland, a December graduate, will enter his third season as a starter. Woolfolk has rushed for 1,412 yards and 23 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He tied Ahmad Bradshaw for the team lead with 14 rushing touchdowns in 2017.
Monken and his coaching staff encouraged Christiansen to make his voice more heard in practice this spring. Christiansen follows linebackers Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf (2016) and John Voit (2017) as a defensive captain.
"He's been pushed into that role because of how much he played and the position that he's played," Monken said. "He had some good leaders. He was in the shadows of Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf and last year (captain) John Voit on that side of the ball and (Scott) Washle and (Alex) Aukerman."
Christiansen credited King and Timpf for molding him into the player and cadet he is today.
"AK and Jeremy are pretty much the greatest role models and mentors that I could have had coming into a place like this," Christiansen said. "Those guys are the best to do it forever in this program. ... They guided me in the right direction and I'm really honored to fill the shoes of those guys."