The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Committed Gators: Perry McElhinney

Caitlyn Lee
Perry McElhinney ’24 is committed to run at Columbia University.

Perry McElhinney ’24 is too nice to be a criminal.

It is a shame, though. McElhinney’s unmatched running abilities would get her out of plenty of police chases and James Bond-esque predicaments.

Unfortunately, this would never happen, because McElhinney’s heart is so full of compassion that she would never turn to a life of crime. Case in point, while running is typically thought of to be an individual sport, the Columbia University commit is all about her team.

When asked to list her accomplishments, McElhinney had trouble, stumbling out a few (very prestigious-sounding) titles before finally saying, “I honestly find it more exciting when the team does really well.”

She even said she prefers track and field over cross country simply because of the team environment. McElhinney explained how track and field allows her to cheer on teammates who are doing other events, unlike cross country where everyone is running at the same time.

“It’s fun to be able to support your teammates,” McElhinney said.

McElhinney identified qualifying for this year’s state meet as a highlight, as the team struggled with many people out with illnesses and injuries. Even with their doubts, the team managed to qualify.

“When it’s more of a struggle and then we come together and do well in the end, it’s really fun,” McElhinney said.

Even as a top runner, McElhinney has her occasional falls. Quite literally.

When walking side by side with Olympian runner Emma Coburn, McElhinney tripped. And fell. On a track. Talking to a runner.

Embarrassing times can be forgotten, though, because who cares about tripping in front of an Olympian when you have better memories like running alongside lions and zebras?

McElhinney recounted a recent trip to Kenya where, as a dutiful athlete, she continued her training. Her training partners this time were not friends or teammates, but rather, safari animals. She said, “I ran by some zebras, and I saw a lion in the distance and some other animals, elephants. It was cool but a little scary.”

Thankfully, McElhinney returned uneaten and in one piece and now looks forward to her life as a Division I runner.

One of the things she said she is most looking forward to about Columbia is being in New York: “I’m just so excited to explore and go on little adventures. There’s just so many options and so much to do.”

However, these “little adventures” will have to fit into her running schedule, which involves a copious amount of, well, running. McElhinney explained how there are three seasons for running: in the fall is cross country, in the winter is indoor track and in the spring is outdoor track.

Through all of this training, she will have her “super tight-knit” Columbia teammates by her side (yes, human teammates, not elephants or zebras). McElhinney loves running, but she said “The team is what makes it better.”

See what we mean? Clearly, McElhinney is too genuine and innocent to be a criminal. However, if one day she decides to switch up her lifestyle, do not plan on being able to chase her down.

While she is doubtful of this—“I don’t know if I’d be fast enough,” she said—let’s be honest, this girl can run long distances fast.

Well, unless she trips and falls.

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About the Contributor
Caitlyn Lee
Caitlyn Lee, Managing Editor
Caitlyn Lee '25 is a Managing Editor for Counterpoint. This year, Caitlyn is excited to uncover all of the different stories on campus, from quirky to inspiring, and she looks forward to collaborating with the staff to share them with the community. When she isn't writing, you can find her swimming, playing BuzzFeed quizzes or munching on Trader Joe's snacks.

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