FPD Cross Country Standout Wins Gatorade Runner of the Year

Running long distances is a challenge for most of us, but for FPD sophomore, Grace Tinkey busting out a four or five mile run is a breeze.

Her story of running success and teamwork is this week’s sports spotlight. Grace Tinkey is a champion cross country runner, but her story didn’t start that way.

“I used to do ballet for a really long time and so I started in 6th grade because a lot of my friends were running and I thought it would be really fun to do something different than ballet. And I was really bad because we walked a lot in meets our goal was to make it to mile one,” said Tinkey.

Running mile one is now a breeze for Tinkey, the F-P-D sophomore won the single-A individual state championship this past season and lead the Vikings to a second place finish in the state. Tinkey was recently named the Gatorade Georgia Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“We’ve been just inspired by her as a team and her teammates really look up to her and encourage, she’s just an encourager,” said cross country coach, April Willingham.

Whether on a track or blazing a cross country course, Tinkey says running is more than competition for her; it’s a hobby that she enjoys.

“I like to race, but I like to just go out there and run. I mean I would love to just go out and run everyday for like forever,” said Tinkey.

Tinkey’s teammate Katie O’Quinn is exited about next season. After coming off an injury in her freshman year, O’Quinn trains with Tinkey and says the long distance runs are more fun with a friend by her side.

“Grace is not only my friend but she’s just an excellent competitor and I love being on the team with her,” said Katie O’Quinn.

With all the wins and accolades piling up, Tinkey remains level headed and keeps her mind focused on the team.

“We’re really close and we’re all different, but everybody has their own personality. It just kind of makes the team, it’s just kind of a big puzzle where everybody is their own puzzle piece and all together we complete the puzzle. I mean everybody is just so sweet and it’s awesome because we’re like a big family,” said Tinkey.

Tinkey is the first Gatorade Georgia Girls Cross Country Runner of the year to be chosen from FPD.

Categories: Regional Sports, Sports