- By S. Thomas Coleman For the AJC
Girls cross country player of the year
Serena Tripodi, Lovett
Achievements: Three-time Class AA state champion. Top overall time in the 2016 state meet (18:17.85). Led team to the team state championship in 2014 and 2015.
Position: Distance runner (Cross country; 1,600 and 3,200 in track and field)
Height/Weight: 5-foot-5, 120 pounds
College choice: Columbia
Why Columbia: When I got on campus for my official visit, it was just an instinctive feeling that this was the place for me. It’s in the center of New York, and has the energy I wanted. And the great (alumni) network is a definite advantage.
Best high school moment: This season I won the all-class course record, which was a really sweet moment. Cross country is my favorite sport, and it showed that all of my hard work paid off.
Why cross country: A friend convinced me to do cross country after I didn’t make the volleyball team in middle school. It was a way for me to stay in shape for soccer season and be with my friends, but by ninth grade I saw that I had gotten pretty good.
What you’d like to be doing in 10 years: I’m leaning toward majoring in business with a concentration in sports marketing, so maybe working for Fox Sports or the (United States Olympic Committee), because I’ve always been a big fan of the Olympics.” (Note: Tripodi has been to the last three Summer Olympic Games as a spectator.)
Favorite high school course: My favorite academic course would be Art History. I took the class this year and am absolutely fascinated by how art has evolved. I plan on visiting the MET and MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) frequently next year and am already looking forward to the Michelangelo exhibit in November.
People who helped along the way: My family has been very supportive. My siblings, even when they’ve been away at college, always call me to wish me good luck. My coaches, coach (Chris) Mayer and coach (Jimmy) Jewell, have been great. Coach Mayer has given our (cross country) program an extra edge, and coach Jewell has had a huge impact on me. He’s able to lift my spirits no matter what is going on. (Note: Jewell, the head cross country coach, is retiring. Mayer, who is the head track and field coach and assistant cross country coach, will take over for Jewell and lead both programs.)
Toughest high school opponent: Me. So many girls have beaten me, but I’m my biggest critic.
Favorite movie: “Miracle on Ice,” because I like the message it sends.
Favorite song: Let It Be” by the Beatles, and “Always Alright” by Alabama Shakes.
Worst high school moment: I tripped in front of everyone at an assembly my freshman or sophomore year. And I’m really bad at public speaking, so any time I have to go in front of the upper school to talk about something stresses me out.
If you could be any athlete on earth: Tom Brady. I know it seems strange saying this since I live in Atlanta, but my family is actually huge Patriots fans. He is absolutely is my favorite athlete.
Money or happiness?: Happiness. You can have a lot of materialistic things, but be very lonely. Happiness makes life more enjoyable.
Best word to describe yourself: Determined. I know that’s pretty basic, especially if you are an athlete. But I think it’s pretty true for me.
View of the world at the moment: I think there are a lot of issues that are not at the forefront that should be, like the environment. International relations and national security are important, and all the violence that is in the news breaks my heart.
What you would put in a time capsule: A photo album. I think it’s important to capture all the moments and memories with your family and loved ones.