Three-sport star has high hopes
There are aggressive agendas for your senior year in high school, and then there is the docket created by Milford High’s Meg Sawyer.
We’re talking protect the class rank of No. 8 (out of 220), challenge for state titles potentially in three different spots and help candidate Shannon Chandley in the upcoming state senate race, and oh yeah, that one other thing.
“I don’t eat enough grape leaves in my life. I need more,” said Sawyer, who feasted on the Lebanese delicacy at a recent family reunion.
The multi-talented Sawyer spent a month in Europe this summer, visited a couple colleges, worked a bit and found a way to get in shape for what she expects to be a huge Spartan senior year.
She took a few minutes to talk about life, where she’s been and where she hopes to be in the near and long-term future.
So let’s get this straight, Europe in back-to-back summers?
“Well, I went to Italy, France and Spain with my family, and it was so fun. We went to Rome and ended in Barcelona, hitting all the big cities. Spain was the best. I speak some Spanish, I mean I can get around. Oh my God, it was so awesome. If you speak Spanish, it’s extra special to the people there. You’re making all the effort, and the people are totally into it.”
So vacation in Europe sounds like a lot of pasta, croissants and gazpacho to me. What about sports, did you forget you’re athlete in training?
“We are very active when we travel. We went for 12-mile hikes, and we bought a soccer ball for me and my younger sister to practice over there. Our flights were so cheap, we only could bring one tiny bag there, so we had to buy our own ball over there. We played some soccer and went for a lot of runs.”
So getting ready for sports this year is a big deal?
“We went to Spain last year, too, and I was on crutches most of the time. I was bummed I couldn’t train for soccer. I was determined this time around to be ready for tryouts. I feel like I’m in a lot better shape now.”
OK, to be tactful here, you had a bit of a tumultuous junior season athletically. In soccer and both track seasons, you guys were denied state titles, actually coming very close. How did you handle it?
“I want us to win a championship in soccer. We were so close last year. I felt like we had everything going for us.
“I really think this year, we can use the feeling when we lost as motivation. It was the worst. I was so disappointed I went out on a three-mile run. I think we’ll keep thinking about that this year and it will drive us.”
What a great attitude, Meg. But things only got crueler for you guys when track kicked in, right?
“Indoors, we lost the state title by like .03 seconds in the last relay. And outdoors, we needed to beat Portsmouth in the 4×400. I was running the anchor leg. Their girl was ahead of me. I just couldn’t catch her. I felt so bad. I’m still a little upset about that.”
Wow, sounds like you are pretty determined heading into senior year with good reason. What are the goals?
“It’s my last soccer season. It’s pretty sad. It will definitely be sad. But everybody on this team won a state championship in middle school and I think we can do it again. Indoors, I run the 300, but I focus a lot more on the 4×400. And outdoors, the 400 has been really good to me. That last 100 meters when you are literally dying, I’ve found a new gear. I want to break 60 seconds, I think I can do it.”
So what about sports after this year?
“I’m looking to run track in college. I’m going to focus this year more on getting in the weight room and getting a good routine going. I’ll be able to shave those two seconds off my 400 time. So I’m excited.”
And as the No. 8 student in the class with a sensational 1,360 on the SATs, you must be shooting at some top schools?
“Well, I visited Williams, it was so pretty … and Middlebury and Tufts, too. They are super hard to get into. Those are my reach schools. I’m also going to look at UVM, St. Michael’s and UNH.”
What would you like to study?
“Well, my mom is a Spanish teacher, and I’m learning French and Spanish in high school. I really want to learn Arabic, too. I’m Lebanese. And we had that family reunion recently.”
The one with the grape leaves?
“Exactly. And there were so many people in my family speaking Arabic at the reunion, and I didn’t understand a word. I’d really like to learn about them in the future.”
OK, sounds good Meg, but we haven’t even broached the subject of politics here. What’s up with that?
“I am currently working as an intern for (Amherst’s) Shannon Chandley, who is running for state senate. She’s a Democrat. I’m not really political, but last year, I kind of got into it.”
“There was that shooting in Parkland, Fla., (Stoneman Douglas High School). We had the walkout (honoring the memory of the fallen students in Florida) at our school. I planned it and I spoke at it. I brought a petition to Concord and I met Shannon there. They asked if I’d intern for her, and I said yes. I want to see how I like it. It’s a great opportunity.”
Man, you sound ready to go on the attack this year at school Meg. Anything else we should know?
“I need more family reunions, that’s for sure.”
For the bonding?
“For the grape leaves.”