Prince of Peace’s Sophie Griffin just ended her junior year of cross country with the Irish, capping it off with her second state appearance.
As a sophomore in 2018, Griffin talked to the Clinton Herald about what motivates her as a runner. For her? It’s the success of older sister, Audrey.
“Oh I want to beat her at everything,” Sophie said about her older sister in that 2018 interview. “One example ... she did basketball her sophomore year and she’s not good so I went out for basketball. I want to be better than her at things.”
Audrey was a two-time runner-up in Class 1A, and had four top-ten finishes at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course.
Audrey also was on the first four Prince of Peace girls’ teams to ever qualify collectively, going as a team 2008-2011.
“One of my first goals after coming back to Prince of Peace was to get a year added up to the banner in the gym, because all four of them up there are from her,” Sophie said. “I think if the last one wasn’t hers it would be really cool.”
Sophie checked that goal off her list this season, leading the fifth ever Prince of Peace girls’ team back to Fort Dodge and the first since that 2011 squad.
“Griffins lead teams to state,” Audrey said last Saturday at the meet with a laugh.
Sophie had already notched the school record in the 5k, breaking it yet again at the state meet just on Saturday. She holds the record for girls’ 5k, which started in Iowa in 2015.
Before that, the girls ran a 4k. Guess who holds that school record.
“It’s cool, I have a school record and she has a school record so you can see ‘Griffin, Griffin’,” Audrey said. Both records are on the board at the Joe O’Donnell Sports Complex in Clinton.
The pair have three other sisters but are similar in a lot of ways, whether it be looks, sports or personality. Audrey was overseas Sophie’s freshman year for the Army, but when she came back she was more involved than ever.
Audrey started serving as an assistant coach, along with head coach Owen Howard, for the cross country team.
“I’ve always been interested in cross country and now that my sister’s in it, I just want to see her do well and help the kids, because I’ve been through it,” Audrey said. “I don’t know if I’d be so involved if Sophie wasn’t in high school right now. I’m just so interested when she’s running.”
That’s not a relationship many siblings get to have in high school, but it’s one they both enjoy.
“I love having my sister at practices,” Sophie said. “It’s amazing.”
“She helps us a lot with things. She tells us stuff she did to get ready, plus that moral support of having someone we can be close with really helps us.”
Audrey says she likes to help with advice, especially with the girls who are running. She goes over the kinds of things she experienced in high school and also helps breakdown the ‘why’ of their workouts in practice.
Overall, Irish cross country is just an inherent part of the Griffin family. And it will continue that way for at least another year with Sophie coming back for her senior campaign in 2020.
Despite all her competitive talk towards her sister, she has always realized that the reason she’s in cross country is partly because her older sister paved the way for her first.
“I don’t think I would be as good of a runner if Audrey hadn’t run,” Sophie said to the Herald in 2018. “I don’t think I would have even gone out for cross country if I hadn’t grown up around it.”