Senior Spotlight: Liz Whitcomb
Senior Spotlight: Liz Whitcomb
Posted on 06/09/2017

The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until the end of the school year.

Liz Whitcomb Senior PictureLIZ WHITCOMB
Daughter of Joel and Martha Whitcomb of Mendota Heights

In 2016, the Henry Sibley Girls Nordic Ski team claimed their second, consecutive Metro East Conference Championship.  The team had their sights set on the state meet, but they were bested by East Ridge High School and shut out by just two points at sections. After overcoming their disappointment, the team came back this year determined to realize their goal.

Not only did the girls Nordic ski team win a third conference championship this year, they made it to the state tournament. This time, they turned the tables and beat out East Ridge by three points at the section meet. It was the first time Henry Sibley had made it to the state Nordic ski meet as a team, though individual competitors had gone in the past.

“It was close at the end,” said Liz Whitcomb, who was one of four team captains. “Everyone was staring at the finish box [at sections] waiting for them to come out with the paper. When they announced we were going to state, our coach was jumping up and down. It was really exciting.”

For Liz, going to the state meet was the culmination of years of training and because of her modest nature, she is more likely to tell you that it was a product of hard work than about her skill as a runner. 

“The [awards and titles] come with the hard work. It’s just nice to get recognized,” said Liz. “When I’ve been training all summer and running all the time, it’s an end result that is nice to see.”

Liz’s talent as an athlete is clear, though. She is an accomplished member of the girls cross country, Nordic ski and track teams at Henry Sibley.

In addition to participating at the state meet her senior year on the Nordic ski team, Liz was an individual state participant as a junior. She was also named All-Conference each year of high school and the team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) as a junior.

As a member of the cross country team, Liz earned an All-Conference Honorable Mention as a sophomore and was named All-Conference in her junior and senior years. She was a team captain as a senior and led her fellow runners to conference and section championships, ending her final season with a team appearance at the state cross country meet.

4 by 800 meter relay picture
2016 Henry Sibley 4X800 Relay team, from left: Rose Dill, 
Liz Whitcomb, Lisa Fisher and Olivia Segura.

Liz has truly left her mark on Henry Sibley as a member of the track team, however. She currently holds two school records as a distance runner. In 2016 Liz, along with Rose Dill, Olivia Segura and Lisa Fisher broke the 4x800-meter relay record that was set in 2002. The same relay team broke the Distance Medley Relay record in 2016. Further, Liz is a two-time 4x800-meter relay conference champion and has received two All-Conference awards in track. She was also a team captain this year. 

It is not surprising that Liz is equally driven in her academics. She graduated with a cumulative 4.1 GPA, earned a Minnesota State High School League Academic All-State Award and was a member of the National Honor Society. In addition, Liz was named an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Honor after successfully completing AP Biology, U.S. History, Language and Composition, Chemistry, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Psychology and Physics Mechanics C.

Liz was a member of the Henry Sibley Wind Ensemble for three years of high school, playing the alto saxophone. She served as the section leader her senior year and was selected to represent Sibley in the All-Conference Band ensemble this past January. Liz even performed at the State Region 3AA Solo-Ensemble Competition in her sophomore and junior years, earning Superior ratings each time.

This fall, Liz will attend Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. where she plans to major in Biology and run on the cross country and track teams.

Before Henry Sibley High School, Liz attended Mendota Elementary and Friendly Hills Middle School.

District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Liz: Sibley has provided me with rigorous courses that challenge me every day to be a better student.  The teachers here want everyone to succeed, and they are really accommodating in helping students outside of regular class time.

Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject?
My favorite subject at Sibley is Biology.  AP Biology is the first AP class that students at Sibley are allowed to take.  Mr. Friberg, the Biology teacher, was an important influence during the difficult transition into the rigor of AP classes.  He taught me how to study effectively and that studying over an extended period of time is more beneficial than cramming at the end.  Mr. Friberg is also the coach of the Nordic Skiing team, and he showed me that you can compete hard and have fun at the same time.  Overall, Mr. Friberg has positively influenced both my academic and athletic careers and led me to pursue a major in Biology.

What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
My favorite memory from Sibley is when the girl’s Nordic Ski team qualified for state this past winter.  It took years of hard work and dedication for our dream to become a reality, and it was so rewarding when everything fell into place at the end.  The team is definitely one of the best groups of girls I have ever been a part of, and I will miss the sport so much next year.

What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
My advice to younger students is to get involved in the school.  Joining different clubs and sports teams is an easy way to meet new people and make friends.  Many of my friendships originated from the sports teams that I participate in.  It is important to stay busy with after school activities that are challenging and enjoyable.  High school should be fun, and extracurricular activities are a great way to have fun.

Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2017: