EUGENE — For 200 meters, Andy Monroe’s mind was racing.
The Crater junior was in the middle of the Class 5A boys 3,000-meter finals Friday at Hayward Field, an event he won last year, and he’d just felt the sensation of his right foot ripping apart.
“It was pretty painful,” said Monroe. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like that while running. It was probably the most painful thing I’ve felt.”
He wondered what it was. He wondered if he should stop. He wondered if he could make it.
With essentially a mile to go, he elected to do just that, go.
In a valiant effort — one that might become more astounding as the extent of the injury is known — Monroe pushed through agony and past his foes, held off a late challenge and claimed his second straight state championship.
His time was 8 minutes, 37.28 seconds, only 4½ seconds off the personal best he set last spring.
“That shows how tough he is,” said Comets coach Justin Loftus as he stood by while Monroe, his foot wrapped tightly in ice and plastic, was treated in the medical tent.
The nature of the injury wasn’t known then. It came to light late in the day Monroe is out for the remainder of the meet. He was to defend his 1,500 title today.
Details of the injury weren’t available, but Loftus got a text from Monroe, who was at the doctor’s office, saying there is no way he could return this weekend.
The main objective is getting him healthy, said Loftus.
“His lifetime career is more important than tomorrow,” said the coach.
Monroe’s win — his fourth state title in the past year, counting one in cross country — was the only one by a local athlete in the finals on the opening day of the 6A, 5A and 4A meets.
Two other locals added runner-up finishes to the tally, North Medford’s Tre Holmes in the 6A boys shot put and Eagle Point’s Anthony Gray in the 5A boys long jump. Each came up with personal bests at the most opportune time.
A handful of other Rogue Valley boys and girls placed as the big-school meet got underway. It concludes today.
Monroe’s spirits were in better shape than his foot immediately after the race, but he did admit to being dismayed.
“It’s kind of disappointing,” he said. “We’ve been looking forward to this meet all year and the times I wanted to run.”
Monroe was in the race with teammates Jantz Tostenson and Griff Hokanson and Ashland’s EJ Holland.
Monroe’s game plan was to hang with the pack for a lap, then alternate 65-second laps with his Comet brethren to keep the pace up. He would make his move at the midpoint and go for a 4:20 mile to close it out.
“That kind of went out the window,” he said.
At about the finish area, where he would later crumble into a heap, Monroe felt “one half of my foot pull apart from the other,” he said, demonstrating with his hands.
For the next couple hundred meters, he tried to process what happened.
He tried running on his toes. That made it worse. He tried running flat-footed. Same result.
“I was like, I don’t know if I can do this for five more laps, but you know what,” he said, “this isn’t the place to drop out. This is it. So I was like, let’s just try to keep going.
“I never really thought about dropping out.”
Remarkably, Monroe extended his lead until the eighth and final lap, in part because he didn’t expect to be able to kick. Then Summit’s Niklas Sjogren came charging. Had the race gone another 200 meters, Monroe said he might not have held on.
No sooner had Monroe hobbled across the finish line than he fell to the synthetic surface, grabbed his foot and writhed in pain as the others avoided trampling the victor.
Monroe was helped to the medals area. He hopped awkwardly to turn during photo ops. Then he was half-carried to the medical facility.
Holland, a freshman, placed fifth in 8:46.24, followed by Tostenson (8:46.98) and Hokanson (8:52.84).
Holmes came up with the throw of his life on his next-to-last attempt, going 54 feet, 7½ inches. He briefly took the lead from eventual winner Tyler Sconce of Roseburg.
“It felt crazy, man,” said the senior Holmes. “I haven’t ever hit that before, so to actually go in during finals and throw that way is an unbelievable feeling.”
It was a PR by 2 feet.
Sconce attained his winning mark of 55-9 moments later.
Gray, a senior, upped his long jump best by a foot to 22-10. He took off from atop the starting board, rather than behind it as he usually does.
“I just gave it all I had,” he said. “I came here as the underdog and got second. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Earlier, he set a PR in the 100 preliminaries, clocking 10.78 seconds.
Crater senior Javon Gill placed fourth in the discus, earning a PR when his final throw went 157-11.
Phoenix junior Robby Vos took fourth in the 4A boys 3,000, clocking 9:03.88.
On the girls side, Ashland senior Myla Norvell was fourth in the 5A javelin at 123-5.
TEAM SCORES: Jesuit 20, Sheldon 18, Roseburg 16, Sprague 16, Oregon City 13, Tualatin 12, South Eugene 10, Newberg 9, Sunset 9, North Medford 8, Forest Grove 8, West Salem 8, Reynolds 8.
3,000 — 1. Joshua Schumacher, Jesuit, 8:29.91; 13. Daniel Beckstead, Grants Pass, 9:03.29.
POLE VAULT — 1. Simon Park, South Eugene, 16-2; 10. Zack Williams, Grants Pass, 13-0.
LONG JUMP — 1. Jacob Williams, Sheldon, 22-9.75; 10. Tayler Phillips, Grants Pass, 21-3.25; 15. Kaison Faust, North Medford, 20-3.25.
SHOT PUT — 1. Tyler Sconce, Roseburg, 55-9; 2. Tre Holmes, North Medford,
DISCUS — 1. Austin Kleinman, Sprague, 168-6; 5. Calvin Claassen, Grants Pass, 159-3; 15. Cole Boster, South Medford, 137-6.
TEAM SCORES: Jesuit 28, West Salem 15, Sunset 11, Grant 10, South Salem 10, Centennial 10, Reynolds 8, Barlow 8, Oregon City 7, Sheldon 6, Lincoln 6, Grants Pass 5, Tigard 5, St. Mary’s Academy 5.
3,000 — 1. Makenna Schumacher, Jesuit, 9:42.56.
POLE VAULT — 1. Olivia Neal, Sunset, 11-9.
LONG JUMP — 1. Judith Baxter Game, Grant, 18-5.75; 4. Lindsey Bonney, Grants Pass, 17-8.5
JAVELIN — 1. Keira McCarrell, West Salem, 146-11; 7. Anna Lorenz, North Medford, 127-1; 9. Kamaile Kaeo, North Medford, 123-4.
TEAM SCORES: Ridgeview 25, Summit 21, Crater 20, Parkrose 16, Sandy 13, Churchill 13, Milwaukie 11, Eagle Point 8, Marist 5, Dallas 4, Hermiston 4, Wilsonville 4, Ashland 4.
3,000 — 1. Andy Monroe, Crater, 8:37.28; 6. Jantz Tostenson, Crater, 8:46.98; 7. Griff Hokanson, Crater, 8:52.84.
LONG JUMP — 1. Ryan Tennant, Summit, 23-0.50; 2. Anthony Gray, Eagle Point, 22-10.
SHOT PUT — 1. Brent Yeakey, Ridgeview, 59-11.50.
DISCUS — 1. Brent Yeakey, Ridgeview, 181-3; 4. Javon Gill, Crater, 157-11; 10. Cody Fisher, Crater, 130-3.
TEAM SCORES: Summit 50, Hood River Valley 15, Mountain View 15, Marist 12, Bend 10, Sandy 10, Hermiston 6, North Eugene 6, Central 6, Silverton 5, Ashland 5, Milwaukie 3, Churchill 3.
3,000 — 1. Olivia Brooks, Summit, 9:50.94.
HIGH JUMP — 1. Camille Weaver, Summit, 5-5; 7. McKinsey Scharf, Crater, 4-10.
LONG JUMP — 1. Jasmine Martin, Mountain View, 18-5.
JAVELIN — 1. Madeline Thompson, Sandy, 137-4; 4. Myla Norvell, Ashland, 123-5.
TEAM SCORES: Newport 22, Marshfield 21, Molalla 20, North Bend 19, Crook County 13, Astoria 12, Hidden Valley 9, Scappoose 8, LaGrande 8, Phoenix 6, Seaside 6, Siuslaw 5, McLoughlin 5, Corbet 5, Sweet Home 5, Stayton 5.
3000 — 1. Michael Brown, North Bend, 8:49.04; 4. Robby Vos, Phoenix, 9:03.88; 8. Parker Cook, Phoenix, 9:20.90.
DISCUS — 1. Will Beaudry, Newport, 168-03.
SHOT PUT — 1. Mont Child, Molalla, 55-1.
POLE VAULT — 1. Neil Chaney, Crook County, 14-6.
LONG JUMP — 1. Trevor Johnson, Marshfield, 22-7.25.
TEAM SCORES: Astoria 18, Corbett 10, Gladstone 10, Scappoose 10, Valley Catholic 10, Sisters 9, Marshfield 8.5, Tillamook 8, Newport 8, Henley 7.5, Philomath 7, Douglas 6, Molalla 6, North Valley 6.
3,000 — 1. Linnaea Kavulich, Scappoose, 10:26.40; 6. Shayla Potratz, Phoenix,
HIGH JUMP — 1. Darian Hageman, Astoria, 5-4.
LONG JUMP — 1. Grace Campbell, Gladstone, 17-8.
JAVELIN — 1. Rhiley Fritz, Corbett, 146-8.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com