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Breaking Barriers essay winner feted at Fenway

A life of courage, fortitude leads 15-year-old Quist to iconic park on World Series stage
MLB.com @alysonfooter

BOSTON -- Jesse Quist appreciates iconic baseball stadiums, and when he was informed a while back that he would soon be honored at one of them, he surveyed the teams involved in the postseason and narrowed down his wish list.

"I said, 'It needs to be somewhere far away that has a cool stadium,'" the 15-year-old Cheyenne, Wyo., native said while taking in Dodgers batting practice at Fenway Park on Wednesday. "We wanted New York, Chicago or Boston, and we got Boston, and we're so excited to be here."

BOSTON -- Jesse Quist appreciates iconic baseball stadiums, and when he was informed a while back that he would soon be honored at one of them, he surveyed the teams involved in the postseason and narrowed down his wish list.

"I said, 'It needs to be somewhere far away that has a cool stadium,'" the 15-year-old Cheyenne, Wyo., native said while taking in Dodgers batting practice at Fenway Park on Wednesday. "We wanted New York, Chicago or Boston, and we got Boston, and we're so excited to be here."

Quist, a high school sophomore, is one of two grand-prize winners of the 2018 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life essay contest. His was selected out of thousands of essays written from around the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Quist was recognized, alongside Major League Baseball's scholastic ambassador, Sharon Robinson, during the pregame ceremony prior to Game 2 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Dodgers.

Since its inception in 1997, Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life has reached more than 34 million children and 4.6 million educators in the continental United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The Breaking Barriers essay contest asks students in fourth through ninth grade to submit an essay about barriers or obstacles they have faced or are still facing in their lives, and how they dealt with these obstacles using the values demonstrated by Jackie Robinson.

In his essay, Quist described the amount of determination and persistence he has demonstrated in his life after being born without fully functioning hands or arms.

"I was just kind of shocked when I won," he said. "Out of thousands of people, I just wanted to share my story a little bit, get it out there. I wasn't expecting to win. It's cool."

Quist, a Rockies fan, was initially honored at Coors Field earlier this season for winning the Breaking Barriers essay contest. He met Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond, his two favorite players, and his World Series appearance finishes off a whirlwind experience that began with the not-so-simple task of writing about his life experiences.

Tweet from @Rockies: It was an honor to spend time Sharon Robinson and Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life Essay Contest Grand Prize winner Jesse Quist.We had a special night at the game last night and visit to Cheyenne South High School today. pic.twitter.com/nN5xoCaEZA

Looking around at his surroundings at Fenway Park, Quist noted how special it was to be at this particular venue to commemorate his big moment in the spotlight.

"It's surreal," he said. "This is an iconic ballpark. This is one of the few stadiums that's sort of original -- it's been around for a long time."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Boston Red Sox