Athlete: Josh Grogan
School: McCracken County High School
What was your most memorable meet and why?
My most memorable race without a doubt was definitely the Tiger Run back in 2012 my 8th grade year. We had just moved to Paducah, KY from Louisville a week before school was going to start. My parents promised me that we could go back for that race. I went out with the leaders not really expecting to win. I pulled away from the pack after the mile and won the 3k course in a time of 9:56, just missing the course record. That race felt so effortless and that's when I really started to fall in love with the sport.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
I definitely faced my biggest competition at the Foot Locker South Regional Meet in Charlotte, North Carolina. I always looked forward to racing there after the state meet. It is definitely a very special place to race.
Out of all your high school accomplishments which one stands out the most and why?
This might surprise some, but out of all my high school accomplishments it would have to be qualifying for Academic All-State in Cross Country and Track each time I competed at state. To qualify for this award, you have to maintain a 3.75 GPA or higher. Succeeding in the classroom is very important to me. I think that is one thing that is very special about our sport is that you see so many runners given this award because we are disciplined in our training which in turn, carries over to our academics. After having practice everyday and then having to go home and study for AP classes and so forth is definitely a grind, but knowing that I'm capable of doing that last interval in practice always made me know I could get that assignment done late at night.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
If I could do it all over again.....well it would definitely have to be my training and racing. Back my 8th grade year I was fortunate to have Zach Hudspeth (a senior at the time) to train and race with. We did everything together; mile repeats, long runs, easy runs you name it. He pushed me a lot, but there is a big difference between a 18 year old senior and a an 8th grader. I thought I could handle everything he did. I came into the state meet that year way over trained and burned out. It wasn't until after my sophomore year (getting injured and not be able to run state that year) that I really began to learn the importance of building your mileage slowly and smartly and that you should take your easy runs, EASY. Another thing I wish I could change is racing in 5K's too early. When I was in 8th grade I hardly ran any middle school races and felt like I jumped into the high school racing circuit a little too early. I think that also was some of the reason why I was overtrained and burnt out at the end of that year. To all the middle school athletes reading this, enjoy middle school races. Some of my most memorable races came from then. They only come around for a few years. Your time to shine in 5ks will be here before you know it.
What was your most difficult obstacle you had to overcome?
This last track season my little brother Wes Grogan won his first state title in the 1600m Run at the State Middle School Meet. That track season he also single handedly beat me in that distance running a PR of 4:36 to my PR of 4:39. My first gut reaction was to be very frustrated with myself for getting beat by my younger brother. I stepped back after that race that we duked it out in and told myself I should look at the big picture and swallow my pride. I thought, wow, I have this brother that looks up to me (manbun duo now, haha) and loves the sport just as much as I do. How cool is that? Since then, we have been training together and keying off each other in races. After having to train by myself from freshman-junior year, I count it a huge blessing to have my own brother to work with. We ran every step of the way at this year's state meet and I couldn't have asked for a better last Kentucky state meet experience. Be on the lookout for him in the next few years, he's going to be an absolutely stud.
What will you miss the most?
Without a question it will be my teammates and all the good times we had. McCracken County Cross Country has a state week tradition of running through the aisles of Kroger shirtless in our running shorts. We have done it every year since I was an 8th grader and the cashiers and workers look forward to getting a good laugh from it. I think most high school runners can agree that there is something special about struggling through workouts and who knows how many miles together over a season that brings you as close as brothers. I want to give a personal shoutout to my fellow seniors: Ben Hodges, John Wolfe, Cody Tynes, Jack Fletcher, Jarrett Daniels and Dru Gilbert and thank them for all the good times and the best of luck in college. Also I'm going to miss the rest of the state team: Wes, Trevor Tilley, Corey Milam, Devin Jenkins, and Eli Hudspeth. I'm going to miss you guys like crazy and I expect you all to keep The Kroger Run tradition rolling.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
First of all, cherish every practice, every run, every workout, and race because it flies by. I know I sound like a broken record and that many of you guys hear this from parents and such, but it really does go by in a blink of an eye. Especially meets like the Kentucky State Meet and Footlocker. I can remember my state meet freshman year like it was yesterday. There's nothing quite like it and you will miss those races when it's all said and done. Secondly, listen to your coaches. I struggled with that, wanting to do a little extra here in there when I was younger, thinking more would make me better. Your coaches know best and that's why they're in the position to coach you. Third, take your easy runs, easy! That's why they're called easy runs. It took me awhile to figure that out. Starting junior year, I would leave my Garmin at home and just run with how my body felt was easy. Last but not least, the most important advice l have for younger athletes is to use running to build your character. Especially in those moments that you fail or don't perform well. Those are the moments when you can learn the most. Running has really shaped me over the last 7 years and has taught me a number of life lessons. Good character in life will get you much farther in life then any race time will.
What are your post-high school or college plans?
My plans are to continue my love of the sport and run for Morehead State University and major in Business.
Who would you like to thank?
Above all else, I would like to thank God for allowing me to fall in love with this sport and teaching me so much from it. My parents, for always being there for me after good races and bad races and encouraging me through it all. And for driving out of town to races (sometimes 8 hours) just to run for 16-17 minutes. My sister, Sophie, for getting me hooked on the sport by telling me to come out to the YMCA XC practices back when I was in 7th grade. My brother Wes for always being on my tale pushing me in practices and races. My other two little brothers Jeremiah and Owen for being okay with being drug along to meets every Saturday and cheering me on. My teammate Zach Hudspeth for pushing me when I was younger and being a great role model in my life. My teammates which I spoke of earlier-thank you for all the memories. Coach Durfee for coaching me my underclassmen years and being a great family friend. Coach Knight for stepping in and coaching me my last 2 years. I couldn't ask for a better coach to finish out my high school career. He's always there to answer a text about what to run the next day or what kind of workout to do during off seasons. He really showed me how similar the sport is to life, you'll have good races and bad race, just like you'll have good times and bad times, but it's all about picking yourself up. Derek Perry, for encouraging me before and after races and for really keeping my confidence up through my last two seasons. The Winders family for opening up their home to my brother and I to come down to Paris, TN and run with them through summer and winter breaks over the last two years. Truly a remarkable family and great friends. To all the friends I've made through the sport and those that are running at the next level, I wish you the best of luck. And lastly, I would like to thank the KYTrackXC crew for doing such a phenomenal job at running this site. The sport wouldn't be where it is today here in the state of Kentucky without the hard work you all put in.