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AU's Grace Griffin

Take Me Back: Grace Griffin Makes an AU Super Fan's Dream Come True

September 6, 2023
Annabelle Finney
Kait Devir

This article appears in the September/October edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

“Take Me Back” connects today’s lacrosse stars with the next generations of players from their hometowns. This month, Annabelle Finney, a 12-year-old attacker with Coppermine 2029 and a seventh grader at Maryvale Prep (Md.) — not to mention an Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse super fan — interviews AU pro and three-time Maryland captain Grace Griffin.

Annabelle: What was your biggest challenge moving from high school to college ball?

Grace: The speed of the game is something that’s very different.

Annabelle: You’re an incredible player, so what’s your greatest piece of advice for younger athletes like me?

Grace: Aw, thank you! Whenever I talk to younger players, I think about what I would want to hear when I was younger and things that helped me. The biggest things are always working hard, doing the little things right and being a great teammate.

Annabelle: That’s incredible advice. Thank you so much. Which player did you look up to the most growing up?

Grace: Two that really stick out to me are two former Terps — Alice Mercer and Katie Schwarzmann. They played at Century High School, which was right down the road from where I grew up.

Annabelle: You were a three-time captain at Maryland. What type of mindset and actions did it take to accomplish that?

Grace: It was such a huge honor. The way that we were selected was mostly team-voted. My teammates year after year believed in me and trusted me. As a captain, I realized that I had to lead in different ways. You’re with a different team, a different group of people each year. You have to adapt. My biggest thing as a leader is bringing out the best in others and instilling leadership in them.

Annabelle: How did you handle days when you didn’t play as you wanted to?

Grace: In those moments, something I learned was bringing up others around you. If you’re not having the best day, it’s the beauty of a team sport — you can really bring up the other people around you.

Annabelle: Wow, this is so cool. I saw that you grew up in Maryland, and Maryland’s so competitive. How did you stay on top?

Grace: I come from a lacrosse family as well, so it’s something I was just always around. But I played other sports, which made me want and love lacrosse more. It made me a better all-around athlete. Playing against amazing, talented athletes just makes you better.

Annabelle: Do you have any strategies on how not to be burnt out or not get tired of the game?

Grace: Make sure your off days are your off days. Lacrosse is something that I love, and it really can become your life. It’s amazing I’m able to make it such a huge part of my life, but also find that balance of having days off or having friends from outside of lacrosse I can hang out with.

Annabelle: I currently help with a younger team. Do you have any tips on how to teach them?

Grace: One of the biggest things is putting yourself in the girls’ shoes.

Annabelle: If you could choose anyone to come watch you play, who would it be?

Grace: This is going to make me emotional. Having my entire family all in one spot watching me play would be really fun. I have four siblings, and we’re all kind of spread out. The last time we were all at one game together was a while ago. That was a really good question.

Annabelle: This was such a great experience. Thank you so much!

Grace: Thank you! You had amazing questions. This was so fun.

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