By Linda White
What does it take to be a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, and a nationally-ranked runner? Ask Erin Dietz, BHS Class of 2015, if you can catch up with her. When she is not attending to her studies, she can generally be found doing training runs with her running club or on one of Bedford’s roads, in good weather and bad, maintaining her regular schedule of training. Her gaze is focused, her gait is easy and her ponytail is swinging in time to her pace. You have probably seen her, but may not have known how very special and talented she is. Erin’s mindset of “Dreams don’t work unless you do” has probably contributed significantly to being a 2015 National Merit Scholarship finalist and award-winning runner.
Among her numerous running awards to date, Dietz is most proud to have finished second in the 5000m New Balance Nationals held in North Carolina late on Friday evening, June 19. Her time of 16:38.17 was a personal best. Click this link to view the entire race.
She was named a Fall 2014 Foot Locker National Cross Country Qualifier and also named the 2014-15 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Dietz is the first BHS student to receive the honor. Joel Hebert, Bedford High school head coach commented, “Erin Dietz is the most accomplished runner our school has ever produced. No one works harder at practice and no one spends more time preparing for a race. Her dedication is legendary.” Dietz who wears out 4-5 pairs of training shoes per year was honored for four consecutive years as a Boston Herald All-Scholastic, Boston Globe All-Scholastic and Lowell Sun All-Scholastic student athlete.
Dietz considers herself “pretty organized.” In 10th grade she assessed her status and goals and made a conscious decision to stick to a study schedule, train responsibly and stay healthy by getting sufficient sleep and eating a nutritious diet. Her follow through on that plan has helped her to maintain the highest level of academic and athletic success. She continued, “I’m fortunate to have a supportive family and excellent running coaches cheering me on.”
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. As reported on their website, about 1.5 million students take the PSAT. Of these, about 16,000 gain scores that qualify them as Semifinalists (that’s a little more than 1 percent!). This year Bedford High School scored four semifinalists and one finalist, Dietz. When asked what her plans were for the fall, she replied, “I’m going to college.” When asked where she was going, she very modestly replied, “Harvard” where she will focus her studies in math, science and engineering. She will also compete in cross country and track and field. “I’m not quite sure what my career path will be, but I hope it will be a balance of academics and running,” she reflected.
Congratulations, Erin! Please know that all of Bedford is cheering you on.