(Photo Courtesy of BHSXC.com)
Rob Finnerty (Sr., Burnsville, MN) burst onto the national running scene his freshman year of high school, taking second in the Minnesota State Cross Country Championships, and winning the 1600 (4:16) and 3200 (9:06) meter runs in track. While a series of injuries slowed down Rob's rise to stardom, the boy wonder is now a matured veteran, healthy and rolling through his senior cross country season. Read what Rob's thoughts are on his current season, progression since his stellar freshman year and much more.
MileSplit US Interviews: Rob Finnerty
MileSplit US (MSUS): Rob, your season's been a great one thus far. With a big win at the Roy Griak Invitational, and a few other giant wins, how is your training going currently, and what are your thoughts on the season thus far?
Rob Finnerty (RF): Shortly after Griak my training was interrupted for a few days because of a funny feeling I had in my upper thigh. Taking the time off was just a cautionary thing, and the pain is gone now. Other than that, my training has been 100% uninterrupted, and I have felt great. As a result, the season so far has been a fun experience.
MSUS: You had one heck of a track season. You had two top three finishes at the Minnesota State Meet, which was easily one of the most talented state meets in the country up top in the distance events. Then you traveled to Nike Outdoor Nationals, breaking nine-minutes in the two-mile and coming back the next day to run 4:10 in the mile. How have you been able to carry over the success of the track season into this fall campaign?
RF: First of all, I would like to say that Minnesota's top five or six distance runners from the last year could easily stack up with any state's top guys. As for my season on the track last spring, the most important thing for carrying that success into the fall was the fact that I put up consistent mileage over the summer, and set big goals for the cross season.
MSUS: During a typical week of training Rob Finnerty and the Burnsville team, how is the week set up?
RF: Right now the three staples of the week for our training are the long run, a threshold type of workout, and a long interval session. My training is a bit different from the rest of the team sometimes because their time line has them peaking in late October, while I am hoping to peak in early December. Later in the season I will start doing sessions with shorter repeats and higher intensity.
MSUS: What are your goals the rest of the season? Obviously a state championship is the focus. I take it Foot Locker is in the works too?
RF: My goal for the season is to win the Foot Locker National title. That's it.
Burnsville team captains (Photo Courtesy of BHSXC.com)
MSUS: You've been a standout runner since your freshman year. Since then, you have progressed quite well, although you've had some ups and downs. What have you done in your training to make sure you continue to improve?
RF: After my freshman year, I had plans of doing big things in high school. Since then, I have had a series of nagging, season ending injuries. I have not run a healthy state cross country meet since freshman year. To combat these problems, I have incorporated a very monotonous strength program into my routine and have learned to listen to my body more when something isn't feeling right. In my mind I have a lot more to accomplish in my high school career, and if I stay healthy people are going to be surprised what happens.
MSUS: One addition to your support staff this year is Antonio Vega, a recently graduated University of Minnesota athlete, who was an all-American. How did Antonio's presence at practice come about? What is his role in your training?
RF: Before the season, my coach was looking for someone to help out with the team because he is the only coach. He thought it would be a good idea to hire a guy who had experience running at a high level and could bring his knowledge to the team, and maybe help me train if need be. Antonio was one of the guys that came up as a possible choice, and when my coach asked him he accepted the offer. Antonio helps with the team two or three days a week usually, and goes on maintenance runs with me once in a while. I know some people out there, in Minnesota, think that Antonio was hired just to be my training partner and personal coach. In reality, this isn't true because he helps the rest of the team equally. They can believe what they want though. I, along with anybody that matter to me, know what the truth of the situation really is. Anybody who thinks differently is irrelevant. Other new coaches for our team this year are Chris Anderson and Casey Jermyn, a former Montana State runner.
MSUS: Being your senior year, I have to ask, do you have any specific colleges in mind as you sort through the tiring college selection process?
RF: Right now my college choices have been narrowed to three schools. They are Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon. I plan on making my decision sometime in November.
MSUS: Minnesota always seems to fall out of the national perspective when it comes to high school distance running. Maybe the cold temperatures or location of Minnesota throw some off, but the talent that comes from Minnesota each year is phenomenal. Does living in Minnesota help you in any way? Do you feel you receive less attention than some living in the far north?
RF: There is no doubt that kids running fast in Minnesota are typically overlooked on the national spectrum. It seems to me like most of the attention focuses around states like California and Illinois during the season. Kids here are tough though. We don't have the luxury that the (spoiled) Californians do with somewhat ideal temperatures year round. The Minnesota winters can make it difficult to get out and run sometimes, not necessarily because of the cold, but mainly the snow. If you run though, I think the winters here do make us tougher. The fact that we don't have any sort of indoor season may help us too because it gives us the sleeper advantage for outdoor.
MSUS: So many people know about the running side of you, but what about the non-running side of you? Outside of schoolwork and practice, what do you like to do with your time?
RF: Outside of running, I am usually a pretty calm guy. Anybody who knows me can tell you this. I don't have any major hobbies, but just like to chill with friends and do whatever. Recently, I've been turning more into a video gamer, but that may just be me getting ready for college life.