Starting off on the right foot: How freshman Grace Boleyn’s character and effort set her up for success


Jane Wheeler

Freshman Grace Boleyn (second from the right) flexes with her team after finishing in first place at their meet in Dubuque.

Jillian Keppy, PV Only Editor

Freshman cross country runner Grace Boleyn has sped past competition in her debut high school season with the PV girls cross country team.

Boelyn began to build her portfolio of success in junior high. Running track for PVJH in the spring created a platform for the elite runner to show coaches, teammates and competition what she was capable of when it came to breaking boundaries. To finish off her eighth grade track season, Boelyn blew away competition at state, winning the eighth grade girls 1500 and setting a new junior high state record. 

While cross country requires many different skills and training techniques from those of track, this fall, Boleyn has proved that her work ethic and effort are consistent throughout both sports. While Boleyn has had an impressive start to her season, she is continuing to improve, even after exceeding expectations with her first few races. She won the Bix 7 for her age group and proceeded to take the gold at her very first home meet with PV. On Sept. 23, Boleyn won the 5K race at the girls’ meet versus Hempstead. Boelyn’s ability to continue to surpass her own records is one of many aspects that set her apart from her competitors. 

Head PVGXC coach Jane Wheeler mentioned some other outstanding qualities that Grace possesses. “Grace is a fierce competitor and very hard worker.  She is one of the most driven athletes I have coached. What I am most impressed with her so far is her poise in races especially considering she is a freshman and is often in big meets with the expectation of placing high if not winning the race,” she complimented. 

Another quality that places Boleyn higher than her competition is her athletic IQ, which is something that not many young athletes display, especially to the extent that this fierce freshman does. Wheeler brought up this quality when discussing some of Boleyn’s most valuable attributes. “Grace races very intelligently especially for her age. This is a great skill to have already,” she exclaimed.

Grace’s teammate, senior Lizzie McVey, believes that Boelyn’s outlook and drive to win every race as well as her motivation to always put in 100 percent are what make her an outstanding competitor. “I think Grace’s mindset is what really makes her different. She wants to train harder than her competition and put in the work that it takes to win,” she said. 

McVey also mentioned how Boleyn compares to underclassmen whom she has competed with in past years. “Throughout my 3 years in the PVGXC, I’ve seen many freshman who train at a high level and prepare for the season, but one thing I’ve seen about Grace is that she goes above and beyond in training and looks forward to giving 100% every day,” she shared.

Boleyn has clearly impressed her role models with her success and work ethic so far this season, but based on her goals for the future, it does not sound like she will be slowing down any time soon.

Boleyn strived to outwork and outperform everyone who she stepped on the starting line with over the summer and throughout the beginning of the season. She also has huge goals for the future of her freshman season. “I want to do well at the state cross country meet this year, in the future I want to keep running faster and faster and I think it would be cool to run a sub 17 minute 5k,” Boleyn mentioned lightly. 

Her athletic intelligence, drive and ability to set and achieve goals by working rigorously are what make Boleyn such an outstanding athlete. It is safe to say that the PVGXC program will be in good company for the next three and a half years.