Profile: Maria McNeilly

Freshman athlete wraps up her track season


Ravali Vallurupalli/Talon

McNeilly smiles for the camera

Freshman athlete Maria McNeilly joined track and field for the current spring season of the 2022 school year. While wrapping up her season, McNeilly reflected on her experience and future with this program. 

“I joined Track because I love running, and I love sprinting. A lot of my friends [joined track and field,] so I thought it would be a fun experience,” McNeilly said. 

McNeilly’s passion for the sport, along with the guidance from Head Coach Steven White, led her to run the 4 by 100 relay, 4 by 400 relay, 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash. Her individual times for the 100 meter and 200 meter are 13.16 seconds and 28.31 seconds. 

“The away games were really fun because we got to see new campuses and spend time with teammates and it was a team-building experience,” McNeilly said. “Home games were fun. They didn’t seem like a meet as much. They seemed more like more competitive practices just because we were used to the place. And we didn’t have to drive in a bus, so that was nice.”

McNeilly is on the frosh-soph team. While other sports rank varsity, junior varsity and frosh-soph, Track and Field orders their teams as varsity, frosh-soph and junior varsity. While competing in each event, McNeilly usually runs in heat 1. The fastest people get put in the first heat since only that heat counts for points. 

“At the start, it was really difficult because I was really tired, but it’s honestly really fun and I can’t imagine not doing it. Now that the season ended, I don’t have any practices and don’t know what to do with my time,” McNeilly said. 

McNeilly explained that not just the designated sprint coach helped her acclimate to the system of practices. It was her teammates and the head track coach, as well. 

“I’ve known a lot of athletes that come to Track and don’t care to run and put in effort, but Maria has been one of those athletes who really wants to. And you can see her coming out every day to practice and she still comes out to practices now, even though her season is over. You can see her dedication and drive and she has grown tremendously as an athlete. Her form has gotten a lot better throughout the season,” junior track and field athlete Kymara Brodie said. 

Brodie was not the only one to share sentiments about McNeilly’s success. Several of her peers cheered her on during meets and congratulated her personal records. McNeilly also sensed her own abilities developing over time. 

“I’ve gotten stronger, and I know technique now. I’ve definitely improved. I can’t remember my first time, but now I’m like a second faster, which is a lot for sprinting,” McNeilly said. 

McNeilly plans to return to Track for the remainder of her high school career. She will grow with the guidance and support of her teammates, coaches, and parents. 

“It was really exciting watching Maria’s track season along with her friends. It was the first time she had done track, so to see her having great success at it was really exciting. It was also a lot of fun seeing her and her friends in the relays and seeing how the team really came together. Coach White did a great job. And it was great as parents getting to see it,” McNeilly’s father Edward McNeilly said.