In the Long Run, Nicholas Made the Flight


Nicholas Waltman

• School: Sayre School
• Grade: 12
• Sports: Track, cross-country
• Academics: Nicholas has a 4.0 unweighted GPA, took 10 A.P. classes, scored 35 on the ACT and will attend M.I.T. in the fall.
• Parents: Wendy and Jonathan

Good thing Sayre School’s Nicholas Waltman is a runner or he might have missed his flight after his visit to M.I.T., where he will attend in the fall.

Nicholas, the class valedictorian, recounted the story at Sayre’s graduation. He stayed up until 4 a.m. on his last night at M.I.T. and needed to awaken at 7 for the trip home.

At 9 a.m., he hears knocking on the door and flies out of bed, grabs his bag and heads for the street to catch a cab.

With none in sight, he sprints toward a nearby hotel, swinging his bag as he ran. “I must have looked ridiculous,” he said.

He jumped into a cab, told the driver he was pressed for time and the cabbie took off. “Let’s just say he got me there really fast,” Nicholas said.

And on time. It was then that Nicholas noticed that his shirt was inside out.

As he concluded the story at graduation, he had to flee again – he was running in the State track meet. Anticipating this scenario, the school arranged to play the theme to “Chariots of Fire” as Nicholas left the building.

That anecdote reflects his high school accomplishments. He aced every class he took at Sayre, including 10 A.P. classes, and scored 35 on the ACT.

A prodigy in math and science, Nicholas also was a member of the Young Democrats and is an avid reader. Favorites include “Catch-22,” “Slaughterhouse-Five,” and he’s currently reading a four-volume biography of President Lyndon Johnson.

A star on the cross-country and track teams, Nicholas placed second in the State cross-country meet three times.

In track, he ran the 1,600 and 3,200 and placed in the top five in the State.

To prepare for M.I.T., Nicholas and his family are spending July in Crested Butte, Colorado where he is training at an altitude of 8,900 feet.

“This is great place to run. It’s cool and dry and there so many trails,” he said. “I’m keeping in touch with my coach at M.I.T. and trying to improve as a runner.”

That also captures a key Nicholas trait – prodigious work ethic.

“Nicholas made goals at the beginning of high school and set the bar high,” his mother, Wendy, said. “Then he went out and did it. It was all individually driven. He worked hard and he never complained.

“It’s the same with his running. He is working very hard this summer. He’s an optimist and expects good things to happen, which allows him to take risks. That’s a great quality to have.”