Sue Grigsby has always been a blur on the landscape, but it wasn't until she came to Humboldt State that her track career really took off.
After high school in Los Altos, Grigsby had joined a community college men's track team. It was before women's sports began gaining equality under Title IX. "I was, fortunately or unfortunately, from an era when women were just starting out," she says.
As she contemplated her next step, her coach made a fateful suggestion: "You ought to check out Humboldt." She did, and ran with it.
By the time she graduated in 1979, Grigsby had left a trail of shattered records in her wake, in 800-, 1,500-, 3,000- and 5,000-meter events. Her accomplishments earned her admission to HSU's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.
And she's still on the move. Now a Physical Education, Health and Wellness instructor at Everett Community College, Grigsby's educational philosophy focuses less on teaching and more on leading - encouraging students to reach their personal best.
That takes creativity and energy, things the enthusiastic Grigsby has in ample supply. She might hide poems around town and ask students literally run them down, or offer cryptic clues to area landmarks for students to locate.
"In some of my classes, I'm largely a cheerleader," Grigsby says. She is also a mechanic, supplying students with the nuts and bolts of healthy living. "I don't teach 'PE,'" she says. "That sounds like you just throw out the ball and play. I teach physical education, health and wellness, where you teach the how-tos and the whys."
Grigsby looks back in gratitude to her time at Humboldt State, and has never forgotten what instructor Larry Kerker told her: "You're on a scholarship from the State of California."
She's since augmented that for today's students, setting up the Sue Grigsby Scholarship Endowment for HSU kinesiology majors and the Sue E. Grigsby Women's Distance Running Endowment.
"I help students change their lives," she says. "It feels good."