Hewitt Senior athletes Paris Robinson, Grace Cleary, and Veronica Kaplan have built legacies of community, sportsmanship, and hard work that will live on long after they graduate in June of 2022. They have embodied dedication, passion, and perseverance in their Cross Country and Track and Field teams and for their teammates.
Paris Robinson showed up to the 2018 Cross Country Preseason out of her comfort zone: new to the school and without Cross Country running experience. Despite the “too long” 5k races, “ugly” reddish-brown leaves, and countless hill repeats, she returned to the sport each Fall. She made vlogs after each meet, in which she documented her improving times and joked about the number of walking breaks she took. In the traditional meets of Indoor and Outdoor Track, Paris absolutely thrived in and enjoyed the shorter races. Whether in the 600 meter or the 4×100 meter relay, Paris ran with speed and confidence. “She’s incredible to watch,” fellow athlete Caroline Baillie ‘22 said, “she has raised Hewitt’s Track team to a whole new level.” Paris brought not just points towards the team and medals home, but also palpable energy to each race; on the bus she always sang while braiding each runner’s hair and in competitions she always cheered for everyone wearing a Hewitt uniform, and even girls who weren’t. “She’s always screaming the loudest from the stands,” said Audrey Heidingsfelder ‘24. As a captain and a respected leader, Paris had the right words of comfort or empowerment. “She is an inspiration to everyone on our team,” Zaynab Badrous ‘22 testified, “I will still be cheering her on after we graduate.” Next year, she will attend Washington University and continue her running career there.
Veronica Kaplan has been part of Hewitt Athletics since her middle school years. From running cross country races in Central Park in sixth grade to her last few races in her senior year, Veronica’s dedication to Hewitt Athletics as a three season athlete for four years is extraordinary. Veronica’s leadership began in late middle school when she first captained the Outdoor Track team in 8th grade. In addition, the community she has built in Hewitt athletics is incomparable as she extends her kindness to every teammate. As she leads warm-ups and spearheads the sprinting groups, her inclusive attitude expands to every member. Veronica has built everlasting friendships with members throughout different grades. She is known as the loveable negative-Nancy of the team. Her teammate Emma Schlosser says, “even when we are having a hard practice, Veronica is always able to make me laugh and encourages everyone around her!” Although she does not plan to run in college, she embarks on her exciting college journey at Tulane University in the Fall of 2022.
On the Varsity Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track Teams, Grace Cleary has always been a do-everything kind of runner: she has run the 200 meter, the 400 meter, 600 meter, the 1k, the mile, the 3k, steeplechase, and the list goes on. And she has been a do-everything kind of teammate: she will run in the pouring rain without a second thought, she has led the team on adventures through Central Park, and she always performed a dancing and jumping routine to warm up. Nina Becket ‘24 says, “Grace Cleary is a good friend, an amazing athlete, and the coolest person I know. On top of everything, she’s a leader everyone can look up to.” Grace is dependable. She always wears a beaming, contagious smile to every practice and acts as a steading, guiding force for each team. She always brought a playful, charismatic energy. But the sound of the gun launched a spectacular exhibit of strength of body and mind. With light and springy yet confident and determined running form, “Grace on the track is Grace in her element,” fellow athlete Ellie Tirschwell ‘22 remarked. And a few times in her career, the stadium was lucky enough to see her dive across the finish line, closing out the 4×100 meter relay or the 800 meter race. Next year, she will attend California Polytechnic State University and perhaps join club running.