Pushed by four brothers growing up, Sherrie Geiger would always try to beat them in a race.
“I remember those walks at night with my dad and my brothers. The last 10 blocks would always become a race,” she said. “I think from that, I’ve always enjoyed running, chasing after somebody and beating them.”
On Sept. 12, Geiger will be inducted into the University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame. The 51-year-old lives in Camas with her husband Tom and sons Shane and Sam. She teaches health and fitness at Skyridge Middle School.
“I’m shocked. I had no idea this was coming,” Geiger said. “I guess I really did leave my mark there.”
Geiger became a pioneer for women’s running during her time as a Vandal. She was a 1981 All-American in cross country. She won the 1982 Association for Intercollegiate Athletes for Women 3,000-meter National Championship. She also became the 1983 Mountain West Conference NCCA Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Geiger’s time of 16 minutes, 10.53 seconds in the 5,000 was a school record from 1983 to 2013.
“It’s been so long, I had kind of forgotten about all this stuff,” Geiger said. “It’s rekindled memories and camaraderie with teammates from running lots of miles in the snow.”
Geiger took her running career a step further when she competed in the 1984 Olympic Trials. She went on to coach the sport at Hudson’s Bay High School, where she graduated from in 1981, as well as Mountain View High School and Camas High School. After the Papermaker boys cross country team finished fourth at the state meet in 2007, Geiger earned the Washington 3A Coach of the Year award.
“It’s not so much that I am the person who is going to give them success. Ultimately, it’s up to the athlete and how hard the athlete is willing to work,” Geiger said. “That last year of coaching at Camas was such a thrill. Those boys were like my sons. It was a lot of fun watching them put in all that hard work and reap the success at the end.”
Geiger enjoyed running for Roger Norris at the University of Idaho. She also thanked Patsy Scharples, a teammate from South Africa.
“She was the one who pushed me so hard,” Geiger said. “She was two years ahead of me, so I looked up to her.”
Geiger has a lot of fond memories from races in the Clark County Track Club, now called the Clark County Running Club. She said founder and club president Bob Moser was her biggest fan and supporter.
“Those runs were a lot of fun,” Geiger said. “I made so many connections. Bob was at the forefront of all of that. He was charismatic guy and he was so supportive.”
Geiger said her oldest brother, Mike, was an important figure in her running career. So were her parents, Richard Crang and Betty Samples.
“My dad took me to any race I wanted to go to,” Geiger said. “I can remember running out the van after the gun goes off. He told me to just go and that he would sign me up.”
Geiger is honored to be a University of Idaho Hall of Fame member. It’s the place she learned about dedication, perseverance, mental toughness and focus.
“I got my degree, made good friends, got to compete, get a national title and throw the Olympic Trials in there,” she said. “It’s definitely shaped me into the person I am now. I like to work hard. I’m very goal oriented in whatever I do.”