GREENVILLE – Greenville senior Grace Coakley will run cross country and track and field for Notre Dame College, a place she found to be a great fit for her academically, athletically and culturally.
“I just really loved the coach up there, and a couple of teammates that I met up there were really nice,” Coakley said. “They have a good academic program that I was interested in, and I liked the area being close to a big city with a lot of opportunities and so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Coakley, the daughter of Stephanie and Scott Lind and Joe Coakley, will major in intelligence studies, a field that includes data analytics, statistics and computers.
She’s glad she can pursue her passion for running while continuing her studies in college.
“It feels really nice,” Coakley said of committing to Notre Dame. “I’ve always loved running and I’ve always loved being a part of a team so I just feel really honored, and it’s awesome that I get to continue to do something that I love.”
For Greenville Coakley has been a standout in many events. Greenville track and field coach Bill Plessinger said she’s run any distance between 200 and 3,200 meters for the Lady Wave and particularly excels in the 800 and 1,600.
“She’s very versatile,” Plessinger said. “Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad. You don’t know what to do with her. On the other hand as a coach, between us it’s easier to place here in different places. That’s kind of what we do during the season, run different races and then see where you’re going to do best at the end. That versatility has made her great. She’s been that way all four years.”
Coakley’s mother is the distance coach for Greenville’s track and field team and is the head coach for the Wave’s cross country program.
In college Coakley anticipates she’ll run the 1,500 meters or 5,000 meters as a member of the Notre Dame track and field team, which competes in NCAA Division II.
“I’d like to just keep progressing and get some more personal records, best times and things like that,” she said of her college goals. “Hopefully do well for the team and score some points.”
Along with hoping to succeed as a college athlete, Coakley is looking forward to forming bonds with her future Falcon teammates.
“I’m really excited to kind of have that family environment that I’ve had in high school hopefully with both the cross country and track teams, and hopefully we’ll have some success as a team,” she said.
Coakley has continually gotten better throughout her high school career, Plessinger said, and he’s looking for big things from her at the next level.
“She’s just been getting better and better over her high school career,” Plessinger said. “One year she kind of struggled a little bit with injuries, but she’s still been a valuable performer for us for four years. Going to really miss her. Not only that, she’s just a great kid.”