Finucane storms through spring



June 20, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

Click here to view the All-Area Boys Track & Field slideshow

James Finucane's race against history ended the way nearly all of his races did this spring -- with the Mercersburg Academy senior winning.

Finucane broke his school's 24-year-old record in the 1,600-meter run with his 4:17.09 and 12-year-old record in the 3,200 with his 9:22.28.

Both were area-leading times this spring -- and no one else really was even close -- while his season-best time of 2:01.54 in the 800 ranked No. 5 in the area.


"I felt like I could have gone faster in the 800, maybe a 1:55 or something, but I was going for my school's records in the 1,600 and 3,200," said Finucane, The Herald-Mail's 2008 Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. "That's where my focus was -- that and, of course, winning as many races as possible."

Finucane took first place in all but one of the individual events he competed in this spring. He won Mid-Atlantic Prep League titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Pennsylvania Independent School state titles in the 1,600 and 4x400 relay.

His lone setback was hardly a loss as he placed eighth in a stellar field of 16 in the boys 1-mile run at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia in late April. His time was 4:18.59, which converted to his school-record 4:17.09 for 1,600 meters (which is 9 meters short of 1 mile). That's believed to be the third-best 1,600 ever recorded by a Tri-State boy.

Finucane said it was the highlight of his season.

"I remember thinking with 100 meters to go, that if I don't get the record here, then I'm never going to do it," said Finucane, who eclipsed the mark of 4:17.6 set by Matt Simar in 1984. "I was so happy with that race. The whole experience was awesome, running in front of that huge crowd. There were like 35,000 people.

"The leaders in that race were top national-class guys. I was happy just to have an opportunity to be there and compete with them. But when I see them in college, I want to beat them, so I need to keep training."

Finucane -- The Herald-Mail's Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year last fall -- will begin his career as an NCAA Division I runner this fall at the University of Pennsylvania.

He said he plans on logging 80 to 90 miles per week this summer to get ready.

"I'm just going in freshman year to try to be in shape to hang in the workouts," Finucane said. "I hear first year is the hardest.

"I'm sure at some point I'll set goals to make regionals and nationals, but right now I just want to get in as good of shape as I can this summer and see what happens."

The Mercersburg school record in the 3,200 was 9:29.5, set by Wyeth Koppenhaver in 1996 -- before Finucane went to the 59th West Central Coaches Meet in Altoona, Pa., on May 2 and won in 9:22.28. That's believed to be the fourth-best 3,200 ever run by a Tri-State boy.

"I'm really happy with how the season went," Finucane said. "I got my goals. I went out in a good way."

Joining Finucane on the All-Area First Team are:

David Acly, Jefferson, hurdles

The senior placed third in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles at the West Virginia Class AAA state meet. He was the area leader in the 110 hurdles (14.94).

Brandon Cato, Martinsburg, sprints

The senior was among the area leaders in the 100 (10.94), 200 (22.54) and 400 (50.34).

Jordan Reed, Hedgesville, sprints

The junior won West Virginia Class AAA state gold in the 4x100 and 4x200 and was the area leader in the 100 (10.69) and 200 (22.40).

David Eubanks, Chambersburg, distance

The junior was the Mid-Penn 1,600 champ. He ranked No. 2 in the area in the 800 (1:57.94) and 1,600 (4:23.34).

Michael Lilley, Williamsport, distance

The junior won his second straight Maryland 1A state title in the 1,600 in 4:26.33 and was the state runner-up in the 3,200 in 9:50.81.

Aaron McKenzie, Waynesboro, throws

The senior placed sixth in the shot put at the PIAA Class AAA state meet with an area-best and school-record throw of 54-6 1/2. He ranked fourth in the area in the discus at 143-8.

Armond Perez, Chambersburg, javelin, jumps

The senior set a school record in the javelin with a national-class throw of 204-5. He also ranked first in the area in the long jump (22-4), second in the triple jump (43-2 3/4) and fifth in the high jump (6-4).

Dustin Peters, Martinsburg, throws

The senior was the West Virginia Class AAA state champ in the discus. He ranked first in the area in the discus (165-8 1/2) and third in the shot put (51-0).

Scott Rice, Boonsboro, pole vault

The junior equaled the Washington County record at 14-0 and set the Maryland 1A state-meet record at 13-10.

Terrell Rickard, Waynesboro, jumps/sprints

The senior won his second straight PIAA Class AAA state title in the high jump. He was the area leader in the event at 6-10. He also ranked fifth in the 400 at 52.04.

Lenny Roach, Berkeley Springs, distance

At the West Virginia Class AA state championships, the junior placed second in the 1,600 (4:26.16), third in the 800 (1:59.39) and third in the 3,200 (9:53.92).

Brandon Smith, James Buchanan, hurdles

The junior placed second in the 300 hurdles at the Mid-Penn championships in an area-best 39.52. He ranked fifth in the area in the 110 hurdles (15.30).

Khiry Timbers, Martinsburg, middle distance

The sophomore placed second in the 800 at the West Virginia Class AAA state meet in an area-leading 1:56.59. He also was the area leader in the 400 (49.73).

All-Area Second Team

Kavon Bailey, Jr., Chambersburg, jumps

Justin Bowie, So., Williamsport, hurdles

Jesse Buchman, Jr., Williamsport, middle distance

Jonathan Chambers, Sr., Hedgesville, sprints

Chris Deaner, So., Hedgesville, jumps/hurdles

Sean Dixon, Sr., Williamsport, jumps

Denver Effland, Sr., Hedgesville, throws

Cory Hampshire, Jr., Jefferson, distance

Lamar Harvey, Sr., Martinsburg, hurdles

Brandon Hyler, Jr., Jefferson, sprints

Dewey McDonald, Jr., Jefferson, jumps

Tyler Swope, Jr., Waynesboro, sprints

Nathaniel Witter, So., James Buchanan, hurdles/pole vault

Marquise Woods, Jr., Hedgesville, hurdles

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