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Sheehan High School valedictorian excels in both athletics and academics

Sheehan High School valedictorian excels in both athletics and academics

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WALLINGFORD — Taking AP classes, serving as captain of three high school teams and participating in other extracurricular activities made finding a balance challenging for Rayna Esch.

“It was difficult at times, very stressful,” Esch said. “But I actually found that when I was more busy I was more efficient in my work. I was able to balance my time better.”

The Sheehan High School valedictorian said her goal in high school was to keep her academic standing and excel at the sports she loves.

For the past four years Esch has been on the track team, the girls soccer team and the boys swim team. When she started high school, she was particularly interested in participating in soccer and swimming.

Finding a way

The girls swim season, which is in the fall, runs at the same time as girls soccer. Instead of choosing a sport, Esch found a way to do both. 

“I got in touch with the athletic director and the coach my freshman year and they allowed me to be on the boys swim team,” Esch said.

She is now a team captain in all three of the sports she participates in.

“As soon as I joined the team I really loved it. All the boys are so accepting and I also got a few other girls to join with me,” Esch said. “It’s been a really awesome team....”

Nana Morrison, Esch’s mother, said the focus for her daughter has always been scholastics and sports. Morrison and husband Dave Esch were involved in sports when they were in school and are proud to see their daughter excel.

“It’s always been academics and athletics,” Morrison said. “It’s a hard balance but she is focused on that, on both of those, and spends a lot of time on doing her studies and doing her practices.”

Headed to UConn

In addition to being a captain of three teams, Esch participated in other extracurricular activities. She is the vice president of her class, a member of the National Honor Society, chair of the Leadership Committee, and participated in cultural and language exchange programs in Germany and Argentina.

“I was always really impressed by her dedication to her studies,” her father said.

Esch will study molecular and cell biology at the University of Connecticut, with the intention of attending medical school to become a dermatologist. She plans to stay involved in athletics through intramural and other non-varsity teams..

“I definitely want to keep active and stay in sports because that’s something that’s really been important in my life,” she said.
Twitter: @JenieceRoman