Rounds Announces Nominations for U.S. Service Academies for 2022-2023 School Year

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today announced that he has nominated three students for appointments to the nation’s service academies. Rounds nominated Luke Jegeris of Rapid City as his principal nominee to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Aiden Kasten of Brandon as his principal nominee to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis; and John Costello of Sioux Falls as his principal nominee to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.

“It’s a privilege to nominate our nation’s future military leaders to U.S. service academies,” said Rounds. “The U.S. service academies are among the most elite educational institutions in the world. After receiving a top-notch education, these South Dakotans will courageously serve our country as active-duty military members. We’re proud of Luke, Aiden and John for their desire to answer the call of duty to serve our nation.”

“I am blessed to be receiving a principal nomination to the United States Military Academy from Senator Mike Rounds,” said Luke Jegeris. “It has always been my dream to have an occupation where I am in a position to serve others. Serving in the Army will grant me this opportunity, and will allow me to be part of a team that strives for perfection.”

"Receiving a nomination from Senator Rounds is a great honor to me and my family,” said Aiden Kasten. “My grandfather served our country during Vietnam and inspired me to pursue a military career path. Going to the United States Naval Academy and becoming a commissioned officer would truly make my country and grandpa proud."

“To me, serving in the armed forces is about contributing to a higher purpose in life,” said John Costello. “Defending our country through service in the Air Force is a part of my desire to put service before self."

Each year, Sen. Rounds nominates South Dakota students to the U.S. service academies. Each academy then gives full and fair consideration to these nominations when selecting applicants. Students interested in attending a service academy go through a rigorous application process. Because the academies are highly competitive, students must meet eligibility requirements in leadership, physical fitness, character and scholarship. The young people joining the military directly from the academies are among the highest caliber our country has to offer—a result of the challenging training and education they received at U.S. service academies. Students applying for service academies are required to receive a Congressional nomination as part of the application process. The students listed below have now fulfilled that requirement and their names have been submitted to the respective academies. Each service academy admission board will determine final appointments. Those appointed receive a scholarship and military appointment and are required to serve in the military for at least five years upon graduation. Principal nominees are guaranteed admission if they meet all of the requirements of the academy to which they are nominated.

Luke Jegeris of Rapid City, S.D.—Principal Nominee, U.S. Military Academy (West Point)

Luke is the son of Karl and Jill Jegeris of Rapid City, South Dakota. A senior at Stevens High School, Luke is a team captain in varsity football and catcher for Post 22 baseball. Luke is involved in Raiders Respect Club, National Honor Society and Economics Club. Luke frequently participates in volunteer service including mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico, regular snow removal at his church and holds a 4.14 GPA.

Aiden Kasten of Brandon, S.D.—Principal Nominee, U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis)

Aiden is the son of Travis and Amy Kasten of Brandon, South Dakota. A senior at Brandon Valley High School, Aiden participates in football, powerlifting and track & field. Aiden is involved in National Honor Society and Math National Honor Society. Aiden regularly volunteers with the Brandon Valley Elementary School Lunch Program, the Boy Scouts of America and holds a 3.95 GPA.


John Costello of Sioux Falls, S.D.—Principal Nominee, U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs)

John is the son of Pat and Shawn Costello of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A senior at O’Gorman High School, John participates in basketball and ultimate Frisbee club. John is involved in National Honor Society, OGHS Student Ambassadors, and Future Business Leaders of America. John has obtained the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of the Boy Scouts of America, is a frequent volunteer at Saint Mary Church and holds a 4.0 GPA.

In addition to the three principal nominees for the Class of 2026, Rounds is also nominating ten South Dakotans as competitive nominees to the service academies. Information on the other students Rounds nominated for academy appointments are below:


U.S. Military Academy (West Point)

  • Weston Mason of Dell Rapids– Competitive Nominee
  • Grace Kaiser of Aberdeen - Competitive Nominee
  • Daniel Colby of Sioux Falls– Competitive Nominee
  • Jocelyn Prewett of Mitchell– Competitive Nominee
  • Elijah Fraasch of Milbank – Competitive Nominee


U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis)

  • Halle Fjelland of Spearfish – Competitive Nominee
  • Daniel Colby of Sioux Falls – Competitive Nominee* (*Applicant has received a letter of assurance from the U.S. Naval Academy)
  • Elijah Fraasch of Milbank – Competitive Nominee
  • Merci Arbach of Sioux Falls – Competitive Nominee
  • Jocelyn Prewett of Mitchell – Competitive Nominee


U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs)

  • Halle Fjelland of Spearfish – Competitive Nominee
  • Gunnar Kvistad of Clark – Competitive Nominee
  • Jocelyn Prewett of Mitchell – Competitive Nominee
  • Anders Enga of Mitchell – Competitive Nominee
  • Clare Dahlhoff of Vermillion – Competitive Nominee
  • Daniel Colby of Sioux Falls – Competitive Nominee
  • Elijah Fraasch of Milbank – Competitive Nominee


Individuals interested in applying for a service academy nomination for academic year 2023-2024 (Class of 2027) should apply by October 2022. Questions about the academy nomination application process can be directed to Rounds’ Sioux Falls office by calling (605) 336-0486 or by emailing Academy_Nominations@rounds.senate.gov. Additional information on service academy nominations is available on our website here.