ON THE TRAIL: Glen Bass has been around the Sonora cross country program long enough to give Steven Grolle’s feat proper perspective. In the 16 years Bass has been affiliated with the program as volunteer, assistant and now head coach, Grolle, the Bee’s Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year, is the only runner to reach the medal stand at the CIF State Cross Country Championship.
The junior got there in 10th place this fall, riding a fast pace to 15-minute, 56-second finish, easily the best among Stanislaus District qualifiers.
“In the last 16
years, Sonora has had probably 135 people running,” Bass said, “and he’s the only one.”
Grolle has a knack for shining on cross country’s big stages. He’s the reigning Valley Oak League and Stanford Invitational champion, and the two-time defending winner at the Sac-Joaquin’s Division 4 sub-sectional and section meets.
“For his age, he’s a very mature runner. He’ll tell you immediately after a race what he did, how he did it and whether it was a good move or not,” Bass added. “He’s fully involved all the time.”
OFF THE TRAIL: This straight-A student isn’t above poking fun at himself. In fact, next to running and a thirst to learn, humor might be his strongest trait.
“Being in cross country with AP classes, there’s no room for personality. From schoolwork to practice and stretching, and then you come home to eat, do your homework and sleep It’s basically school and running and that’s it. It’s the sad truth about being a high school cross country runner.”
LOOKING AHEAD: Grolle will be a marked man at every starting line he toes, beginning this spring in track and field. Grolle qualified for state in the metric mile at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet in Elk Grove a year ago, becoming the first Sonora athlete to do so in seven years.
“Now that he’s established himself, the sights are on him,” Bass said. “It’ll be bragging rights if they outrun the guy who went to state.”
QUOTABLE: "In my experience, going clear back to when I was a parent-volunteer, there are maybe eight kids that have a work ethic like him. That’s including guys and girls. The difference with him is that he’s talented and coachable. He’s a pot of gold; he’s got the talent, work ethic and he’s coachable.” — Glen Bass, Sonora coach