New Canaan Country School cross-country runner Amitav Nott finished the 2018 fall season with first place honors (9th grade division) following Fairchester League’s final race, Nov. 7. For Amitav, the blue ribbon represented three years’ of steady improvement, patience and dedication.
“I couldn’t run at all in sixth grade,” recalls the ninth grader, a co-captain of the varsity squad at the Pre-K through Grade 9 school. “I had been playing soccer, but decided to let that go in eighth grade and commit to cross-country in both fall and spring. It was really hard work, but I stuck with it and little by little, I got better and better.”
Head cross-country coach Will McDonough marvels at Amitav’s steady progress and determination both as a runner and as a student.
“This is a young man who never just ‘goes through the motions,’ he always goes above and beyond whatever is required. He quite literally goes the extra mile in everything he does,” explains Coach McDonough who also teaches eighth grade English and World Cultures in the school’s upper division. “As a runner, he only cracked the top 40 once during his seventh grade season and now he just won his division. Just since last spring he was able to shave an entire minute off his mile time – going from a 7:04 to a 6:04 through sheer effort and hard work. It’s simply fascinating watching him set his mind to something. He never takes shortcuts. As a student in my class, it was the same thing: total commitment. Frequently, he’d stay after class with one more question, or he’d bring up something relevant to our discussion from his own reading outside of school. He brings so much to every interaction anyone has with him… he just cares so much about connecting with everyone and setting a positive example.”
In addition to running varsity cross-country in both the fall and spring, Amitav plays tennis competitively outside of school, enjoys reading and computer coding and considers Latin his favorite academic subject, if forced to choose just one. As a seventh grader, Amitav earned the highest possible score on the national Latin exam, an accomplishment that did not surprise his World Language Teacher Hannah Liu. Ms. Liu noted that his academic and athletic achievements are well deserved but only tell half the story.
“Amitav is an earnest, eager learner, with a strong work ethic. He is also a friendly, engaging, sensitive person. He is very aware of what is going on around him and deeply cares for all of the people in our community. Every day I see him around campus interacting with a wide mix of people: younger students, teachers, other adults. He is warm and genuine and is interested in learning everyone's perspective and hearing what they have to say,” says Ms. Liu.
“Amitav has been fantastic in his role as co-captain this season,” says Coach McDonough. “He always has a plan for the Friday game days and checks in with teammates during the week to get their input and find out what they would like to do. He is the first captain I have ever had who has taken on the task of organizing snacks for race days.”
“One time, after a race, I was marking winners and times on a sheet of paper on my clip-board and Amitav quietly watched me for a while. The next day he came to me and said, ‘'I'd like to write you a computer program to help you keep track of the scores digitally’ and I was just blown away. It was so amazingly thoughtful. He’s a problem solver.”
The son of Sangeeta Prasad and Madhu Nott of New Canaan, Amitav has attended Country School since the third grade and is beginning to explore options for life after graduation this June.
“I am looking at a variety of schools in the area. Wherever I go next, I want to continue what I’ve started and that definitely includes running. ”