Sonora tracksters Steven Grolle and Jeff Storey both earned medals in their respective events competing Friday and Saturday at the Arcadia Invitational in Southern California.
Previously recorded jumps and times this season qualified both Wildcats for the prestigious track meet that brought together competitors from high schools in 23 states.
“It’s just an honor to be at this meet because you have such phenomenal athletes coming from numerous states,” said Storey, who competed in the long jump.
Storey earned a medal for finishing fifth in his event with a jump of 21-03. He had been jumping in the 20s before putting on sweat pants to warm up his legs, which helped him crack the 21s in his final three leaps.
“Coming to this meet, I knew I had to do well,” Storey said. “Traveling six hours to not do well wasn’t on my mind.”
Storey said that he had hoped for a longer jump — his personal record set last year is 22-1 and he is currently trying to beat the Sonora High record of 22-8 — but was pleased to bring home a medal.
“I know I can break it,” Storey said of the 22-8 school record. “It’s just a matter of when. I have some more big invitationals coming up. They are not as big as Arcadia, but they are big.”
Meanwhile, Grolle ran to third place in the 3200-meter Friday and seventh in the mile Saturday. He medaled in the 3200 with a time of 9:24.47, beating his personal record for the event by 15 seconds.
“I basically did the same thing in my sophomore year (beating his PR in the 3200 by 15 seconds) so it’s really exciting to be able to do that again,” Grolle said.
Grolle finished third despite being seeded No. 31 out of a field of 31 runners.
“I guess I proved that number wrong,” he said.
On Saturday, Grolle ran the mile and attempted to beat the Sonora High record of 4:18.8. He finished in 4:22.92 — a personal best for the season — for seventh place.
“My legs told me that I ran two miles pretty fast the day before, they were tired — they were screaming tired,” Grolle said.
Grolle said invitationals such as Arcadia are a “confidence boost” and a good place to rub elbows with some of the top competitors in the nation.
For example, Grolle’s coach Glenn Bass said the Wildcat junior ran into someone he met separately over the summer at a track camp in Oregon who competes for Rocky Mountain High in Idaho.
“It’s really great competition and good exposure for the kids,” said Bass.