Growing up, Grant Heldorfer watched in amazement at the success of St. Edmond athletics, hoping one day to follow in the footsteps of those who came before him.
Heldorfer did just that, competing on the state level as a Gael before being honored as the winner of the 2021 Terry Griffey Award, which goes to the top senior athlete in the school.
A state cross country and track participant, Heldorfer has also been involved in basketball and baseball. He was named a team captain and earned academic all-state honors this past fall.
“When starting high school sports, I really looked up to the Flattery family,” Heldorfer said. “Seeing all of the great athletes in that family, and seeing how hard they worked and the success they had.”
Heldorfer also had a strong bond with Sean Flattery, who he competed alongside throughout his four years at St. Edmond.
“Having Sean as one of my best friends helped me to push myself to become a better person,” he said. “Seeing the success all of the Flattery’s had just encouraged me to get out and run when I needed to and to get in the weight room whenever possible.”
Like so many others, Heldorfer went through the difficult 2020 athletic season that was cut short due to COVID-19. He missed out on what would have been a memorable track campaign with many of his fellow teammates.
“The pandemic really pushed me to work harder,” he said. “Missing the 2020 spring season really taught me to take nothing for granted and to enjoy sports while we still had them.”
In the fall, Heldorfer helped the Gaels return to the state cross country meet, finishing 12th overall in Class 1A. He was 87th overall in the race.
At state track, Heldorfer was on a pair of fourth place finishing relays in both the 4×200 and 4×400. He ran with Flattery on both of those, and also was the lone senior on the 12th place 4×800 relay.
“Some of the best memories I have had through sports at St. Edmond have been qualifying for state in cross country after the team had not made it for the last four years,” he said. “It was a great feeling and it felt as though all our hard work finally paid off.
“Also, witnessing the track team win the 4×100 and 4×400 relays in a matter of minutes in 2019 was an awesome experience.”
In his final season as a Gael, Heldorfer earned all-North Central Conference honors in baseball, hitting .442 with 29 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 15 RBI and 19 steals. He also had a .933 fielding percentage and earned a win on the mound.
As for graduating and moving on, Heldorfer will “miss just hanging out with all of my teammates and friends before practice and at games and meets.
“Also, just the general feeling of competing with some of your closest friends is awesome in itself.”
Heldorfer will be attending Iowa State University in the fall as he pursues a Master’s degree in accounting.
Named for Lt. Terrence Griffey, a 1958 graduate of St. Edmond, the award was first handed out in 1968. Griffey was killed in action over Vietnam in 1966.
Other finalists for the award included Flattery, Drew Schaeffer, Cael Kolacia and Brock Stanek.
Vacation: Backpacking in Europe.
Have dinner with: Pat McAfee.
It would surprise people that: I’m left-handed.
Sports role model: Nick Symmonds.
Everyday role model: my mom.
Can’t go a day without: my phone and water bottle.
Superstition: wearing a headband for track and cross country.
Most heated rival: Manson NW.
Favorite road trip: Door County, Wisconsin.
Listening to right now: Justin Bieber.
Team: Green Bay Packers.
Class: Public Speaking.