BEEKMANTOWN — Miranda Lawson stands on the shoulders of those who came before her.

Her mother, Tracey Archer Lawson, is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Her late grandmother, Jacqueleine Hylda Creed-Archer, was a graduate of Spelman College, a Clinton County social worker and founder of the NAACP and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commission here.

Her great-great-great-grandfather, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, was the first African American graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine in 1857.

 

IT'S A GO

Miranda enters her senior year at John Campe High School in Loudon County, Va.

Next fall, she heads north to attend Cornell University, where she was recruited by head softball coach Julie Farlow.

“I always like rural settings and that kind of attracted me to upstate New York,” said Miranda, who plays shortstop and outfield for her high school and two travel teams.

“The very first time I was on campus, the atmosphere and the people were very friendly. It's just a beautiful school. It's a college town. There are three other schools.”

 

ROAD TRIPS

Miranda started playing softball when she was 8.

“She was always kind of the bigger kid,” said Tracey, a senior-sales executive for Jack Henry & Associates and a 1977 Beekmantown Central School graduate.

"She had a gymnastics background and is very strong and very athletic.”

Miranda has played for a variety of teams and 13 different coaches and batting coaches.

The last several years, she's appeared at a lot of showcases where college scouts look for talent.

Tracey was trying to get her eldest daughter to narrow down the kind of school she would like to attend.

Two years ago, she attended a softball camp at Cornell.

“She said, 'This is where I'm going to go,'” Tracey recalled.

“She fell in love with the school. She continued working very hard on her skills and working very hard in the books.”

Miranda went to a batting camp and a four-day overnight camp at Cornell.

“She went up there and played her butt off," Tracey said.

"The coaches realized how athletic Miranda is. She loves working out, running and being pushed.”

 

WAITING GAME

The pressure was on as Miranda's peers started getting commitments from other schools.

Cornell was an aggressive goal but she had never wavered in her dream.

In April, Tracey called the Cornell softball coach to see what she was thinking.

“She said, 'Mrs. Lawson, I love your daughter,'” Tracey recalled.

“Up to that point, you're thinking, you're hoping, you don't want to be too pushy.”

In June, Miranda attended another camp and hit a home run and a triple.

As she rounded the bases, Tracey heard the players call out her daughter's softball nickname, “Mimi! Mimi!”

“This is the right school for her,” Tracey said.

“In order to get the best out of your kid, it has to the place they want to go.”

She tried to play the Yale card but she saw how Miranda's face lights up at Cornell.

“I see it as an extension of her,” Tracey said.

“She goes all out for that school.”

Miranda cut the grade not only athletically but academically.

“She works for it,” Tracey said.

“I didn't do anything to get her there, just fund it.”

 

MATERNAL LEGACY

Tracey wishes her trailblazing mother was still alive to witness Miranda's success.

“She was the first African-American cheerleader at Keyport High School,” said Tracey of her mother's New Jersey alma mater.

“That was back in the day when it was segregation, and she was able to do something like that. She studied social work and was a civil rights leader.”

In 2007, Tracey, Miranda and her youngest daughter, Myra, were among the Creed descendants celebrating Cortlandt's sesquicentennial celebration at Yale.

There were tears then as there were after the 8 a.m. call when Miranda got the long-awaited affirmative from Cornell. 

“Miranda started to cry,” Tracey said.

“She said, 'I got accepted.' I said, 'No way, no way.'”

 

OVER-THE-SHOULDER VIEW

Miranda's softball saga is long and full of amazing memories.

“Looking back on it, there's nothing I would have changed,” she said.

“It's been the most amazing thing I've had. I have to start weightlifting to prepare myself. Keep my grades up and enjoy my last year as a high school student.”

 

Email Robin Caudell:

rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

Twitter:@RobinCaudell

Robin Caudell was born and raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She has worked at the Press-Republican since 1990