A race of a lifetime

Junior competes at nationals for cross country

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A race of a lifetime

Junior Anthony Monte poses at the Nike world headquarters in Portland on Nov. 29.

Junior Anthony Monte poses at the Nike world headquarters in Portland on Nov. 29.

Colin Sully

Junior Anthony Monte poses at the Nike world headquarters in Portland on Nov. 29.

Colin Sully

Colin Sully

Junior Anthony Monte poses at the Nike world headquarters in Portland on Nov. 29.

Harshita Avirneni, Feature Editor

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He felt the wind brushing past him as he ran as fast as he could. He could see the finish line in the distance. Step after step, he tuned out the voices yelling from the sidelines and focused on what he came to do.

Junior Anthony Monte placed 26th at Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. last Saturday. The race was held on the Glendoveer Golf Course, where Monte finished with a time of 15:28.3 in the 5k race against 203 other runners.

Honestly, the fact that I even made it [to Nationals] didn’t even settle in until I was on the plane,” Monte said. “It was my first time going and most of the time people who go for the first time are seniors, so I was just going to experience it. I ended up doing better than I thought I was going to do.”

To advance, Monte placed third at the South Regionals meet at Bear Branch Park in Houston, with a time of 15:44.05 in the 5k race on Nov. 17. This meet consisted of the top runners of five states, the top five individuals advancing to Nationals.

I was super pumped for Anthony,” cross country coach Colin Sully said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for Monte and he deserved to have a great race. He works very hard. Doesn’t miss practice, doesn’t make excuses for himself, sets a great example for his team.”

Normally over the course of the week, Monte has three days of higher intensity workouts, such as 1k repeats at full speed or running a 10k, and then on other days Monte runs at medium pace continuously for multiple miles. Monte runs about 9-10 miles on weekdays and up to 13 miles on weekends.

The day before the race, I literally spent four hours with the other individuals playing ping pong, but that was what I wanted to do,” Monte said. “I didn’t want to sit around and just think about the race and all the things that could go wrong with it. I was just trying to stay loose and stay positive the whole day before the race. I think it was a really good way of not tripping myself up.”

Along with getting the experience of going to nationals, Monte also received $600 worth of merchandise from Nike. He got a jersey, warm up top, warm up pants, socks, customized tennis shoes and a customized pair of spikes.  

I think I achieved my goal for that race because I didn’t have a really concrete one to go in with,” Monte said. “I wasn’t like ‘oh, I need to get top 20’ or ‘oh, I need to get top whatever’. I did better than I thought I was going to do, so I think that’s good for what the race was. I think I accomplished what I was trying to do out there.”

Monte said getting 26th felt really good, especially because he beat all of the other boys from the South region. He said that it felt great because he ended up beating the guys he wanted to run like and that was cool to experience.

“At first I didn’t believe it,” junior and cross country runner Josh Pikoff said. “I mean we all knew Anthony was fast, but nationals was a different level. Ever since freshman year I’ve been looking up to all the best guys around the country. Now knowing that one of my best friends is with that group of the best in the country is really something special.”

Pikoff also added that his favorite thing about Anthony is that he doesn’t want to be alone in his glory. Pikoff said Anthony sees the same greatness in him along with many others on the team and wants everyone to rise with him.

The reason that I really like cross-country is because you can see yourself improving over time,” Monte said. “I really like self improvement. The better you do depends on how much work you put in, and I really like working really hard for one thing. You can train so hard for it and if you have even one good race, you feel insanely good. Especially when you’re at the national level at the big meets. You get so much out of it. It’s just exciting, running.”

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