Her athletic achievements were remarkable as Claire Kieffer-Wright looks back with fond memories growing up in South Pasadena, attending Monterey Hills and Marengo elementary schools, and South Pasadena Middle School before graduating from South Pasadena High School in 2014.
She graduated with a degree in communications at the University of Michigan, while competing in both volleyball and track & field. Some of her favorite recollections of Tiger Athletics was competing at CIF-Southern Section Track & Field Finals and grabbing a title with a small team, winning a hard-fought league championship in volleyball her junior year, and jumping 6-feet in high jump for the first time.
Kieffer-Wright started playing competitive volleyball at 13 years old and only started high jumping when she began high school. Among those guiding her along the way was Coach Hutchinson, who “in just two years he took a tall, awkward girl and made her into a state champion,” she explained. “A lot of different factors got me to where I am today but I believe the root of it comes from him and other coaches I have had.”
Kieffer-Wright’s advice to student-athletes is, “If they are truly passionate about something, then pursue it to the fullest extent. Don’t be afraid to be bold and go after what you want. The recruiting process for athletics is very interactive, coaches want you to reach out to them, and when you do you never know what can happen.”
She credits the combination of academics and athletics at SPHS getting her into the University of Michigan, on scholarship, and allowing her to continue her passions in volleyball and track & field, noting: “Athletics opens so many doors for kids and I think that aspect is often overlooked or pushed aside. People often think it is just a hobby, but for me it led me to an amazing college experience, a free education at one of the best universities in the nation, and the opportunity to compete at the highest level in two sports. It will also will allow me continue on in anything I choose to do because of the great athletic training I received, all the resources my college had, and the degree I earned.”
When asked who were her favorite teachers at SPHS, Kieffer-Wright said, “I really enjoyed a fair amount of my classes and teachers, but I think Mrs. Pearson was up at the top of the list. She has an awesome teaching style, treats every student with respect and brings out the best in them as well.”
Kieffer-Wright is considering continuing into professional athletes with high jump, but will need to take time off to recover from an injury sustained in 2018.
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