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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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The first group of adults runs into the cold water during the seventh annual ice plunge for Elodie Kubik. Some wore swim caps in pink, which is Elodies favorite color. Some also wore caps that said Plunge for Elodie.
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Caitlin Heus-Smith: Sprinting towards success

WSPN%E2%80%99s+Chloe+Zilembo+talks+with+WHS+track+athlete%2C+junior+Caitlin+Heus-Smith%2C+on+her+achievements+and+how+she+got+to+where+she+is+today.
Credit: Courtesy of Caitlin Heus-Smith
WSPN’s Chloe Zilembo talks with WHS track athlete, junior Caitlin Heus-Smith, on her achievements and how she got to where she is today.

Running is a natural human instinct, but for Wayland High School junior Caitlin Heus-Smith, running is more than an instinct– it’s a sport.

When Heus-Smith was 9 years old, her dad encouraged her to try running out as an activity. He ran in high school and wanted to pass down his love for running to his daughter. So, he signed her up for Nitehawks, a running club based in Wayland.

“My dad wanted me to try it, but I was really nervous about starting,” Heus-Smith said. “It was something that anyone could start doing at a young age. I would just sit by the track watching before I actually started practicing.”

Heus-Smith soon realized that she was good at running and decided to continue her running career and focus on it as a sport. She also realized that she was good at field events, like the long jump and the triple jump.

“It made sense for me to continue running because I liked it and I was good at it,” Heus-Smith said.

Now, Heus-Smith holds three WHS records including the indoor long jump, outdoor long jump and outdoor triple jump. Even with the records she currently holds, Heus-Smith has even bigger dreams.

“I want to progress more in the long jump and consistently get 17 foot jumps,” Heus-Smith said. “[I also want to] progress in triple jump, and [achieve] the 200 meter outside record.”

On top of her high school records, Heus-Smith has also gone to the Meet of Champions, a state competition for the best track and field athletes in their respective events.

“Last year, [during the] outdoor track [season], I made it to the Meet of Champions in two events, long jump and triple jump,” Heus-Smith said. “Long jump was something that I was really proud of because I jumped 17 feet, four inches and I had never jumped 17 feet before and that was a big thing for me.”

Her abilities also led her to qualify for the Junior Olympics, where she then qualified for regionals in Craryville, New York.

“I [competed in] the triple [jump] and won that event,” Heus-Smith said. “I could’ve gone to the national [competition], but I didn’t want to because my jump wasn’t good enough to win [at the national level].”

Despite all of her achievements, Heus-Smith still encounters adversity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her training became more difficult because of pandemic restrictions.

“Getting workouts in during COVID-19 [was difficult],” Heus-Smith said. “I felt like I didn’t do enough or progress as much as I wanted to.”

Even now, four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heus-Smith still struggles with thoughts of not advancing enough.

“I haven’t been progressing as much as I wanted to, and [I’ve been] struggling with feeling like I’m not good enough,” Heus-Smith said.

To avoid a stalemate in her progression, she is also on a running club team outside of WHS called Waltham Track Club. The club provides a different kind of training that enhances her running abilities.

“[Club] is more personalized training because there are more coaches, so I can get specifically coached for one certain [skill],” Heus-Smith said.

Heus-Smith’s achievements and commitment to track has brought up the question of if she wants to run at a collegiate level.

“I would like to run in college,” Heus-Smith said. “I guess we’ll have to see how good I can actually get.”

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About the Contributor
Chloe Zilembo
Chloe Zilembo, Copy Editor
Chloe Zilembo, Class of 2025, is a second year reporter for WSPN and a copy editor for sports and news. She plays field hockey and is on both the high school team and a club team. Outside of school she enjoys watching movies and sports. Contact: [email protected]
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