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Huston wins Sun/Rotary POY for fourth time
For Cibola runner Monica Huston, training starts well before any of her classmates are even awake.
At 4:30 a.m. Huston rousts her dad and two dogs out of bed, laces up her running shoes and hits the pavement, all before the sun even has a chance to rise.
That effort is a big reason Huston won the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2012 Girls Cross Country runner of the year, winning it in every one of her high school seasons.
Huston's father doesn't always keep up on those runs, but Huston loves the support anyway.
“What I do is just take off and come back for him or I'll go on the side a half-mile down and half-mile back. He'll run a couple miles less than me, but it's still a big sacrifice of time and effort. He wakes up super early to run with me or he'll run really late. He's just a really good motivator for me.”
Cibola cross country coach Kris Norton is just thankful that Huston has survived the season healthy.
“We've gotten her through all four years without any major injury, and major sickness is a testament to how she takes care of herself and how she combines the academic part with the loss of sleep,” Norton said.
“For someone that has to do what she does, get up and work out at 4:30 in the morning, that's asking a lot with her classes. We're just thankful to get her through the season healthy and be running strong.”
Even though there weren't any personal records for Huston this year, it was still a success. Huston finished third at the state championships and ran a 18:20.90 at the Nike Cross Regionals Southwest.
“Each course tends to change a little bit so it may have not a PR time-wise, but some of her efforts were maybe another level,” Norton said.
Even after what seems like a grueling schedule, Huston's legs were still feeling fresh.
“I feel like I've been training more for this than I have in previous years. Freshman year I didn't race any postseason meets, sophomore year I did one and last year I did two, so you just kind of gradually build up.”
Huston has grown not only as a runner over her four years at Cibola, but as a leader as well.
“She's not my most vocal captain,” Norton said. “But she's definitely gotten a lot more assertive with herself as far as telling kids what to do when I'm not there or having to work with the boys and get them ready. My top seven can get abused a little bit because of having so many runners, but having assistant coaches and good team leaders, she really stepped up and helped out there.”
Huston placed 42nd with a time of 18:20.90 at the Nike Cross Southwest Regional race, which was not good enough to qualify for Nike Nationals.
Huston is eyeing a few schools, including Brigham Young University, which reminds Norton that his seniors won't be around much longer.
“At this level we love what we do, as coaches we enjoy it,” Norton said. “It's not necessarily all about getting a kid like this, but at the same time you sure appreciated having them.
“To have two kids (Bernie Montoya and Huston) that are as fast as they are but be such great kids, it just makes it that much more of a special couple of years. Some kids just require a lot more work, but these two have just been fabulous kids. They've contributed a lot to the team's success that we've experience over the past couple years, so it'll be tough to adjust without them.”