Finnegan strides towards records, ribbons


Craig Amoss

Junior Grace Finnegan competes in Class 4A Maryland State Track Championships.

Colin Vega, Sports Writer

This spring, junior Grace Finnegan has had a tremendous and accomplishment-filled season on the track. Finnegan has shown nothing short of peak performance in 2023 season and has much to show for it. 

Before her most important meets of the season, regionals and states, Finnegan was already breaking records. During the regular season, Finnegan broke the RM 800 meter record with a time of 2:14.08. Who held the record before her? Herself, of course. “I was excited,” Finnegan said. “I wasn’t really expecting it, just because I haven’t done a lot of 800[meter] training. But yeah I was happy and my coach and my teammates were all there and they were all super happy so yeah I was really excited.” 

At the end of the season, Finnegan qualified for the regional meet and performed no worse. She qualified for states in every single one of her events, which included the 800 meter, the mile, and the 4×400 meter relay team. “We sent our girls 4×400 which I was a part of and I was really excited about the 4×400 the most,” Finnegan said.

Then came states, the most important track meet for a high school track athlete, and this would be the third time Finnegan would be participating, meaning she has made states every year since freshman year, something not seen too often. But this states appearance was different, because Finnegan won her first ever state title by getting first place in the 800 meter dash. “I won my first state title so I would say it was pretty good,” Finnegan said. “I got leaned out in the mile, it was like 4:58.1 and I ran a 4:58.2. But I came back in later, I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing all season which is just running really good 800s so I was really happy about that.” Winning the 800-meter state title and achieving second place in the mile is no easy feat, and arguably makes her one of the most impressive track athletes in the state.

But none of this came easy. “It can be hard,” Finnegan said. “ It’s a lot on a daily basis so I’m usually at school until 5:30. So just getting out everyday and working hard everyday, it can add up especially when I have to come home and do homework and do other things.” Finnegan also came back from being sick and not being able to run in the winter, but overcame the obstacle and came back as fast as ever. “Being out there running meant more than it did to me last year or the year before that, so I’ve just been happy I’ve been able to come back and compete,”  Finnegan said. 

Of course, Finnegan had a lot of help during her track journey, which she says a lot of it has come from Coach Garrett Suhr at RM. “Especially coming out of this program and being able to have him as such a young coach that competed in running I feel that he understands a lot more than my adult coaches understand, but we’ve also just gotten along really well and I’m happy to have him as a coach,” Finnegan said. 

Even though Coach Suhr was a first-year coach, he still made a heavy impact on the team. “Grace has grown into a consistently great performer meet after meet getting faster and conquering any challenge she faces,” Coach Suhr said in a text message. “I’m most proud of how she was able to stay healthy and positive all season long even when we started off the season with a setback.”