Perkiomen Valley’s Glodek took the torch from Steinke to become Mercury All-Area Runner of the Year


Graterford — For the first time in years the Pioneer Athletic Conference crowned a new girls cross country champion.

Coming into the season, the big question centered around who would rise up now that former Methacton standout Kara Steinke, who had dominated the league and won four straight titles, had graduated.

Quiet yet determined, Annie Glodek answered the call. The Perkiomen Valley sophomore raced to the front when it counted the most to capture the 2014 PAC-10 girls cross country championship at the Heebner Park course in October.

“It was really cool because it is not like it was easy,’ Glodek recently said, with a happy smile. “Because if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be as great in my mind, not as much fun. I had to overcome really tough competition. And that makes it all the better.

“I remember thinking, I can’t slow down because if I do, I’m going to get passed. I started to pick it up a lot. And I remember right before I crossed the finish line because all of a sudden I was in a lot of pain.’

With pain came gain, now in the form of Glodek being named Mercury All-Area Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

After capturing the PAC-10 title with a time of 19:25, eight seconds ahead of PV teammate Michele Daniels, she then placed 13th at the District 1 Class AAA Championships with a time of 18:46 as the area girls highest finisher and qualified to states. At the PIAA Championships a week later, Glodek crossed 40th with a time of 19:32. She also won the Fretz Invitational in 19:10 during the season.

Coming into the season, Glodek knew the field was wide open. Winning the title was on her mind from day one, she just wasn’t entirely sure how realistic the goal was.

“Well, sort of,’ she said. “But, it was a pie in the sky goal. My goal was to get in the top 10 in the PAC-10 race.

“But after I had a good track season last spring, did really well in the two-mile race and came in second to Kara (at the PAC-10 Track & Field Championships), I figured when Kara graduated I could have a chance to do really well in replacing her. Not as good as her. Who is?’

Steinke had become somebody Glodek looked up to and aspired toward in her freshman year.

“Absolutely,’ she said. “I’m sure it’s all around the PAC-10. She is like this image of what we all kind of want to be. At the beginning of this season, I was talking about how I wanted to race hard, and my team was like, ‘ Oh, yeah, we have a new Steinke.’ We know we can’t be, but we want to try.

“She is also very nice, very humble. It’s not just her running that we want to go after, but her personality. She was quietly determined.’

Glodek is getting closer and closer to it.

And that pie in the sky goal started to become more of a reality in a scrimmage against Spring-Ford.

“A lot of people say it’s like the pre-PAC-10 even though it’s at the beginning of the season,’ she said. “People come out and they show what they have done so far, and I ended up winning that race. It made me think, ‘ Oh, I can do this.”

But the team wins always were most important during the regular season.

“We were very focused on winning the PAC-10 as a team,’ she said. “So it wasn’t about me doing whatever I could to win, it was about me helping the team win the race.’

And she grew into the Viking girls’ team leader.

“As a sophomore, Annie first was a quiet team leader who led by example,’ said her veteran Vikings coach Ryan Sullivan. “She was not very vocal in the beginning but as the year progressed you could see her leadership skills grow and she became more vocal.’

Her freshman season was cut short by a stress fracture and that makes her even more determined.

“I hadn’t trained a lot over the summer, so I got injured very quickly into my freshman season,’ she said. “It happened on the inside of both my legs and got worse as I continued to run on it. So I had to take off the rest of the season at a certain point. It was pretty sad because our team was really gunning for the team championship. So that was a little setback for me. And for our team a little bit.

“But then I went through the track season and I stayed very injury free and trained over the summer. That’s why I didn’t get injured. You have to keep training to avoid getting injured.’

And when the flu was making its round late in the cross season and also hit her, Glodek didn’t let it get her down.

“I remember running a race and just being really tired,’ she said. “My lungs and my legs just would go any faster even though I wanted them to. But on our team we promote a lot of preventive and healing measures. If anybody get’s sick, it’s ‘ OK, drink a lot of water, eat soup. Get down to business.’ I just took that mentality with it.’

Clearly, she bounced back in time for the postseason.

Cross country got a hold of Glodek all the way back in second grade.

“On the CYO team at my church, St. Eleanor’s,’ she recalled of getting her start. “I used to play soccer, like most young girls did. My mom said I seemed to prefer the running. So I went for the running and just forgot the soccer part. And I did pretty well back then.

“But I didn’t really do it again until it became a school sport in seventh grade. A couple of my friends were doing it and I figured I may as well do a sport. I had done it before, so it was, ‘ Why not?’

Good choice.

Now isn’t the time for Glodek to think about the next multi-year cross country champ. She has a track and field season in the spring that isn’t to be overlooked.

“For now, I’m mostly focusing for what I want to do in track,’ she said. “I have a lot of goals to move forward in track. I want to go to states in the 3,200, at least make districts. I want to be a back-up for our 4×800 relay because we want to go to states in the 4×800. After track, I will have goals for next year’s cross country, for myself and for our team.

‘I just hope I can keep it up and continue to improve as move forward.’

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