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Hail Columbia

Monticello’s Jessica Fingers gets a full ride


MONTICELLO, NY — In the grueling life of a runner, success requires hours of rigorous training, unbelievable self-sacrifice, the willingness to endure pain and, perhaps most importantly, the will to persevere.

In her remarkable high school running career, Monticello’s Jessica Fingers has evinced a work ethic that has manifested itself in races won, records set, championships garnered and accolades received from her school, community and the media.

With her acceptance to prestigious Columbia University, which has offered her a full scholarship to pursue her studies and the opportunity to join the Lions’ Pride of top flight runners in cross-country and track, Fingers has realized a longstanding dream.

Fingers sees her tenure at Columbia as a possible forerunner to a career in marketing or law. Recruited by many other schools including St. John’s University, the University of Connecticut, Northeastern, Northwestern, Villanova and the University of Buffalo, the multi-talented Fingers, who has attended Monticello schools since kindergarten and who was born in Bedkreunach, Germany, had much to weigh in her decision.

Ivy league schools do not offer athletic scholarships. Consequently, financial help would have to come from grants based on her academic viability. Columbia’s offer to provide $45,000 dollars of the total annual cost of $52,000 makes this an incredible opportunity for a most-deserving candidate. Fingers is in the top nine percent of her class.

For her parents, Bob and Athena, the prospect of having to pick up the remaining cost, minus other local scholarships and grants, is something within their reach.

From her first visit to Columbia, Fingers’ heart was won by the school’s allure, with its impeccable reputation and wonderful Manhattan location, the warmth and dedication of the young women in the running program and, of course, the coaches, including head cross-country and track and field coach Willy Wood.

Columbia, which dates back to the 18th century, is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York State. While academics are uppermost at Columbia, athletics play an integral part in the life of the school.

Fingers finished second among Section Nine Class A runners in cross-country this season and sixth in New York State.

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TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Monticello’s Jessica Fingers is heading to Columbia University on a full scholarship. Meeting the Ivy League school’s high standards for academics, Fingers will be running cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. (Click for larger version)