ETHAN PETRIK HUDSON — The smile on his face reflected his joy as Addison Grady saw his hard work pay off at the 2022 North Iowa Cedar League meeting in Hudson on Thursday.
The Hudson eldest crossed the finish line as the conference champion in the 3,000 meter race.
Grady’s time of 10:30.73 not only put her in first place by almost a minute, but it also represented her personal best time, Hudson’s school record and the NICL conference.
As the third event of the day on the track, his day did not end with the 3,000 meter race. Grady also had strong performances in the 1,500 meter race (first), the medley relay (fourth) and the 800 meter race (sixth).
After the race, Grady acknowledged that racing in so many events caused a mix of nerves and excitement as she prepared for the “mega meet” at her home track.
“I was very excited to race at our home track and not have to travel by bus,” Grady said. “I was a little nervous with the magnitude of the load because I had never done this before, but all I could do was trust who I was as a rider and try to put everything forward in every race.”
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The 2022 Drake Relays 1,500-meter qualifier has put in a lot of time during the offseason in all kinds of conditions to prepare for her senior season.
“It’s really exciting to see that all the miles I’ve put in over the winter have not been wasted,” Grady said. “To keep going out and giving it your all, rain or shine.”
Grady said she actually prefers racing in the rain because of the X-factor it provides, adding that while it was raining, it wasn’t cold or windy during the competition.
“I like racing in the rain,” Grady said. “That spices it up a bit. … It’s fun for me. At least we’re running.
According to Hudson girls head coach Braden Rogers, Grady put in a lot of hard work outside of practices and track season to become the runner she is today.
“She’s a runner at heart,” Rogers said. “She loves running. It’s in his bones. She works hard every day.
Grady said she developed her work ethic by watching her older teammates in previous seasons. She specifically cited Kylee Sallee, a 2021 Hudson senior, 2021 Drake qualifier in the high jump and current Augustana University track and field team member, as an athlete who motivated her to put in the extra work.
“It’s just watching the people in front of me,” Grady said. “It just kind of made me want this.”
As a senior, Grady said, she took that experience and applied it to help lead younger athletes this season.
“With a small team, we all have a close bond,” Grady said. “So to be able to be someone they can look up to and still be a good friend to them is a good thing.”
Rogers expanded on Grady’s role as a leader, describing her as a type of leader by example.
“The rest of the team sees what she’s doing and they know how hard she works,” Rogers said. “She sets an example for everyone. I don’t have a big distance team, but, even the sprinters and throwers, they see the time she works and puts in and how it pays off. She is a leader without saying much. She…leads by her actions.
He also added that the elder is not only an athlete but also an amazing person.
“What people need to know is that she’s a great young person,” Rogers said. “She is kind, considerate and polite. She’s just a great person in general.
When her career as a Hudson pirate ends, Grady will head to Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, where she plans to pursue a pre-med track. She will also compete as a member of the Lancers cross country and track programs.
Grace participates as a member of the Crossroads League at the NAIA level with 10 member schools in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, all private Christian institutions.
According to the Hudson star, the opportunity to emulate her parents drew her to Grace.
“Grace College is where both of my parents went,” Grady said. “So just kind of following in their footsteps, which is exciting, and I love the coaching there.”
Photos: Cedar Valley athletes compete in Drake Relays in Des Moines