For Reece Grosserode, the stories told by his dad and mom began to take shape when he was in junior high.
They’re now processed through glances when the sophomore walks by the track and field record board in a hallway at Lincoln Pius X High School.
His father’s name is up there. Uncle Mitch’s name is there.
Grandma can tell some tales, too, starting with the Thunderbolts’ 100-meter dash record that still belongs to her.
When Reece got to Pius X as a freshman, not only did he want to proudly carry a family tradition rich in green and gold, but he also wanted to land on the school record board, too.
“That was the first accomplishment that I wanted to get (at Pius X),” he said.
Reece, a sophomore, did so this year with a leap of 47 feet, 10 inches in the triple jump at the Lincoln Northeast Relays. And now, three generations of Grosserodes are represented in the record books at a school deep in track and field tradition.
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“It is so special. It really, really is,” said Joann Grosserode, Reece’s grandmother. “Just the generations and to hold on to some of those records just kind of blows my mind sometimes.”
Joann – then Joann Hegler – got it started when she set school records in the 100 and 200. Her record in the 100 (12.2 seconds), set in 1976, still stands.
John, who passed away in 2011, and Joann had five children. The oldest is Patrick, who set six school records before embarking on an All-American career at Nebraska. The 400-meter record (: 47.25 in 1997) still belongs to Patrick, and he’s currently No. 3 on the state’s all-time chart in the event.
Mitch, the youngest of John’s and Joann’s kids, is part of two relay teams from 2013 – the 4×400 and 4×800 – etched in the school records. He later ran at Kansas.
And now Reece, who will contend for titles in the triple and long jumps when the state meet begins Wednesday at Omaha Burke Stadium, is carrying the family name through flight. He’s second in the state in the triple jump and third in the long jump.
Joann said she is shocked that her 100 record still stands. In fact, she thought it was going down when Tara was a senior. Mom even bought flowers and had them ready in a car at a Waverly meet, thinking her only daughter would take it on that day.
It didn’t happen, but Tara was still part of two school relay records by the time she left high school.
Besides the family name, there’s another unique link to the Grosserodes’ success on the oval. George O’Boyle was the head coach for John, Joann, Patrick, Mitch and Tara, who competed at Kansas. O’Boyle was the Bolts’ head coach for 52 years before recently stepping down, but he continues to coach the team’s long and middle-distance runners.
If you’re wondering how much track dominates family discussions, “It’s about all we talk about,” Patrick says.
When the oldest son got to Pius X, the goal was to join Mom on the record board. Now he’s getting a chance to mold his son into one of the best jumpers in school history.
Patrick is the Thunderbolts’ jump coach, which gives him a chance to teach Reece every day. It’s a very good dynamic, Patrick said. Realizing Reece had the talent to be a very good jumper – Reece will compete in the USA U20 national meet in the summer – Patrick has been going to USA Track and Field school every year since 2018.
Reece said he is thankful to have the family support system he has to push him to be a better athlete.
“It means a lot to me, knowing that I always have people that are supporting me, knowing what I’m capable of,” Reece said. “I just always have people there that love me.”
Patrick was near the board when Reece jumped into the school record books earlier this year.
“We were so excited when Reece did it,” said Patrick, who also runs The TrackVille, a track and field training facility in Lincoln. “Just think about that – (mom’s) name has been up there for (45) years, and in the track and field world, these things progress and we’re a Class A school.
“I just think that in the whole scope of track and field, at one school to have this kind of thing, have the phenomenal happen, grandma all the way down to grandson, holding records at the school, it’s pretty neat.”
The Grosserode family has had its name on about a dozen school records at different times. Reece, meanwhile, wants to add one more, and that would be the long jump.
The school record is over 24 feet. Reece’s personal-best long jump is 22-8½. He still has some ground to make up, but being just a sophomore he also has time, and he continues to progress in both of his events.
It’s special, Reece says, seeing his name up on the record board with the Pius X greats. But he wants to leave a bigger mark.
His sights are set on the all-time Class A record in the triple jump (50-2¼), one that has stood since 1978.
“Before I leave Pius I definitely want to get that long jump record and hopefully break 50 (in the triple) and 25 (in the long),” he said.
Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or [email protected]. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.