By SAM SCOTT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Caitlin Scheder-Bieschin would have had good reason to kick up her heels this spring break to celebrate on a job well done. Just 7 percent of applicants to Stanford University actually got in this year, and she was one of them.
Instead, the Cardinal-to-be and her sister, Gabrielle, joined 20 other volunteers from Cross and Crown Lutheran Church on a trip to Tecate, Mexico, where they hammered out a two-room house for a family in three days.
“It was surprising to see how big a deal a little house could be to someone who has so little,” she said.
Caitlin insists she’s not above vegging out on the couch watching “Bones,” reading a romance novel or just doing nothing like a more stereotypical teen. But it’s hard to see how she’d have the down time.
The 17-year Analy High School senior carries a weighted GPA around 4.57, writes for the student newspaper, plays percussion in the school orchestra and has been a mainstay on the school’s swimming and cross-country teams.
Her athletic prowess, however, shines brightest in off-campus events, racing in both bicycle events and triathlons. Last September, Scheder-Bieschin finished 12th in the 16-to-19 age group in the World Triathlon Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Her beginnings in the sport began in middle school. When she was in seventh grade, her dad, Max, former president of Santa Rosa-based ZAP and a Stanford grad like Caitlin’s mom, began training for an Ironman triathlon, a brutally long race that features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
His daughter caught the bug, started training with him and was soon competing herself at shorter distances, and doing well.
In ninth grade, she started a junior team, rounding up three sponsors to help defray the cost. Four years later, the team still competes in three to five triathlons a year.
Her strongest event is the bike, which she excels in as an individual sport. On April 3, she won her group in the Santa Rosa Apple Pie Criterium — a 45-minute blitz around a flat 0.7-mile course.
It’s hill climbing, however, that she finds most enjoyable with its chance to do war against gravity and fatigue with each pump of her legs.
“When you get to the top, it’s like, ‘I just dominated that hill,’ ” she said.
Caitlin plans to continue racing at Stanford, where she’s considering studying chemical engineering or other sciences that could lead her to develop to medical treatments. Her father works for Berkeley Bionics, which develops robotics, such as electronic exoskeletons, that enable paralyzed people to move.
“In an ideal world, I’d make cures for people,” she said.
She’s not all business, though. Her building excitement for college includes potentially joining the Stanford marching band, perhaps the most colorful half-time entertainment in collegiate sports. All her work comes with room for play.
“I do have a wacky and zany side,” she said.
You can reach Staff Writer Sam Scott at 521-5431 or firstname.lastname@example.org
School: Analy High School, seniorFamily: Mom Ann, dad Max, sister Gabrielle and brother Maximilian.
Pets: Four dogs and a cat
Quote: “Nothing’s impossible. Even impossible says ‘I’m Possible.’ ”
Favorite movie: “The Pursuit of Happyness”
Favorite song: “Save Tonight” Eagle-Eye Cherry
Favorite place: the Maldives