Ryan Kros came to Virginia Tech on a path predetermined by two family traditions: tennis and military service in the United States Army.

He enrolled in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, and joined his older brother, Jason, on the Hokie men’s tennis team.

He was one of about four Division I athletes in a corps of 1,200 cadets. “College athletics is a once-in-lifetime experience,” Kros says by way of explanation.

He put in the work, from Army fitness training in the morning to his daily tennis practice and workouts,  and figured out a routine that gave him time for everything he needed to do.

Kros also achieved a balance between his responsibilities in the Corps of Cadets and Army ROTC with his studies in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “I learned to help my team succeed through leadership, organization, and communication,” he said.

He not only succeeded, he thrived. He will graduate in December with a degree in building construction and a commission as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army.

“There are few cadets, nationally, that have accomplished what he has accomplished,” says Lt. Col. Curtis Armstrong, the executive officer of Virginia Tech’s Army ROTC. “He is a true scholar-athlete-leader who will be an amazing officer of character in our Army.”

Here is the proof:

  • Kros is ranked the No. 10 Army ROTC cadet in the nation. The Order of Merit list is based on leadership attributes, academic scores, and fitness assessments.
  • This summer, he graduated from Army ROTC Advanced Camp, earning the coveted Reconnaissance Commando badge and the highest potential overall rating of “outstanding.”
  • He ended his college tennis career as the 2020-21 ACC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an Academic All-American, and the Virginia Tech Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year. He was also elected to the Student Athlete Advisory Council. 
  • He served as a building construction ambassador and engaged prospective students during open-house sessions and campus tours.

Kros credits his role as project manager for a capstone project in construction with pulling “everything I learned over the past four and a half years together.” The team develops a bid for a project that includes design, cost estimates, scheduling and logistics. Each team presents a bid to an industry board at the end of the semester.

If all that wasn’t enough, last spring he met his goal of joining Army ROTC’s Ranger Company, a group focused on training for competitive Army schools and selections. He put in extra work to prepare for Ranger Company’s intensive fitness assessment while traveling every week to compete with men’s tennis and preparing for the ACC tennis tournament and the NCAA National Championships.

Kros didn’t quite expect to be traveling to tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, he dug deep and figured out a routine that worked.

“There are no regrets for anything I’ve done, even though it’s been very tough at times,” he says. “I wouldn’t have done anything differently, even if I could go back and change things.”

Early in 2022, Kros will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia, for the Army’s Basic Officer Leaders Course and then on to Ranger School.

Kros is focused on his future now, saying that he “would like to have a long and successful Army career before transitioning into residential construction, specifically renovation and custom new construction.”

Written by Shay Barnhart and Michael Capocelli

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