Hooping It Up

Hooprolling champion Emmy Hamlton '18 and five friends lift their hoops in this photo taken on the shore of Lake Waban

Hamilton (center, with bouquet) celebrates her win with friends.

Photo by Justin Allardyce Knight

Hamilton (center, with bouquet) celebrates her win with friends.

Photo by Justin Allardyce Knight

It’s a brisk Saturday morning in April, and for once, the sun is shining. Seniors are standing around a chalked line on Tupelo Lane in their graduation robes, scarfing down doughnuts, hoops in hand. Ask any one of them whether she is going to win the Hooprolling race this year, and you’ll get a variety of answers.

The fatalistic: “Oh, God, no. I just want to finish.”

The timid: “It’s terrifying to have a stampede behind you.” No plans for victory, eh?

And then there are those who will tell you the best way to roll a hoop (hand on the right side) or offer some strategy from running on the cross-country team (“Keep your elbows out”). One senior will make no bones about her simple secret for success: “Blind ambition!”

And then there will be Emmy Hamilton ’18. She has plans to get out in front of the pack and “run as fast as I [can] without letting my hoop fall.”

When the melee begins with a tangle of robes, running shoes, and crashing hoops, Hamilton does just that. The captain of the field hockey team pulls ahead, a friend running alongside her with an iPhone, filming her prowess. Her hoop, miraculously, stays upright. By the time she approaches President Paula Johnson and Dean of Students Sheilah Shaw Horton, who hold a purple streamer to mark the finish, she is many lengths ahead. Hoop still heeling properly, Hamilton joyously claims victory, earning a bouquet and a hug from the president.

“Crossing the finish line I felt overwhelmed and excited,” Hamilton says. “I was so happy to win and be surrounded by my friends, who proceeded to carry me and dump me in the lake. It was a really wonderful and quintessentially Wellesley experience to have before I graduated.”

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