Student Spotlight : Caitlin Walsh

Coach Dana Aufiero with seniors Caitlin Walsh, Natalie Benoit, Victoria Porrino, Andrea Capasso, Sara Savino and Tara Moat

Coach Dana Aufiero with seniors Caitlin Walsh, Natalie Benoit, Victoria Porrino, Andrea Capasso, Sara Savino and Tara Moat

Yoel Figuereo, Features Editor

Students at New Milford High School are recognized for various types of accomplishments, whether athletic, academic, or simply by being a major contributor to the community. But with senior Caitlin Walsh, it’d be easier to talk about what she hasn’t accomplished at New Milford.

There are very few people as admired and respected around the community as Walsh , being near the top in every event or academic list there is. Just to read off a few of Walsh’s accomplishments, a 4 year athlete as a 3 varsity sport team member for fall and competition cheerleading, as well as outdoor track. She is also a Girl Scout member and Silver Award recipient, a high academic achievement in business and family consumer science recipient, and president of the National Honors Society.

Walsh is one of the most decorated students that New Milford has had in a very long time. Walsh shows incredible competitiveness in every aspect of her life, always striving to be the best in everything she does. Walsh always shows deep affection for the wildlife of the world, and will be attending the prestigious University of South Florida in the fall of 2017 and majoring in marine biology.

Walsh not only dominates in the academic aspect, but she dominates in the athletic aspect as well. Walsh is one of the co-captains of the Knights competition and fall cheerleading team, and lettered in both seasons all four years competing in the sport. However, that is not where she shows the most of her athletic talent.

Walsh is the one best pole vaulters in school history, earning the school record in pole vaulting for indoor track, and coming very close to it for outdoor. Not only is she one of the best in school history, she is one of the best around the league, in the county, and in the state–winning the league title for female pole vault, placing sixth at the Bergen County meet, and recently placed eighth at the State Meet of Champions this past June, as well. Walsh is looking to repeat as league champion, as well as place even higher in the state meet of champs in June and in the county, as well.

When asked, out of all the accomplishments she has earned, which she’s most proud of, she states, “I’m most proud of my second place in the state sectional for pole-vaulting my junior year because it is something I honestly never dreamed of achieving. I remember going to the meet my freshman year to watch my teammates and thinking ‘wow it would be amazing to qualify for this one day,’ never thinking I actually would not only be able to compete, but take second, as well. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and it brings me joy to see that my hard work has paid off.”

When asked what inspires her to do all these amazing things throughout her high school career, Walsh said “ as cliché as it sounds, it’s probably my mom. My mom does so much not only for me but for everyone. She’s involved in the school, in the athletics, and all around in our community. Growing up watching her be her has made me want to achieve as much as I can to make her proud. There is nothing my mom wouldn’t do for me, so I feel it’s only fair to try and follow in her footsteps.”

Finally, about her post high school plans, Walsh stated,  “Next year I will be attending the University of South Florida where I will be studying marine biology. I hope to one day become a marine veterinarian and work in preservation and conservation of marine life. It’s always fascinated me and I’m really motivated by the phrase ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.'” 

Walsh not only received tremendous praise from opponents of opposing teams, but as well as her teammates and her fellow captains–such as captain Natalie Benoit, who states, “ I think that out of all of the seniors, she’s the best captain and most deserving. Regardless of injury, she always pulls through and thinks about what is best for the team. She’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met; she can always make us laugh and she’s there for everyone. She’s someone you can always turn to if you need it. I think she is capable of doing whatever she puts her mind to.”

Not only does she receive praise from her peers and teammates but she receives major praise from her coaches, such as track coach Bill Hartney, who mentions, “Caitlin is an excellent pole vaulter, she is the hardest worker in the room in every room, she loves the sport and she shows her passion at every practice and every meet. She’s determined to become the best pole vaulter in New Milford and I have no doubt she will become that in the future. Everyday she works her hardest and she always gives everything she’s got. Every athlete should have the passion that Caitlin has for pole vaulting.”

Walsh is undoubtedly one of the most talented and respected students in New Milford, and will be remembered as one of the most prolific student athletes in New Milford history, dominating in every aspect of school. She sets the bar of the perfect student athlete in New Milford. No one is quite as respected around the community as Walsh. The future is bright for Walsh and nothing but success is in her future. Make sure to watch for Walsh in the spring as she begins her final spring track season.