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Monroe in line for three individual top-8 finishes for second straight year
As a freshman at Cibola, the allure of the 100-meter dash was too much for Nicolette Monroe to resist.
So too was the thrill of victory, because once she started adding more races to her meet schedule they never went away.
A three-event winner at this year's Gila Valley Region Track & Field Championships in the 100, 200 and 400, Monroe has also qualified for the finals in all three races of today's 5A-II State Championships at Mesa Community College. The Cibola senior's sprinting dominance earned her the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2010 Girls Track & Field All-Region Player of the Year.
"I remember I hated that race (400) when (coach Gordon) Mosher first threw me in it, but he kept having me run it at practice," Monroe said. "I learned how to run it, and I learned to like it."
The 400 wound up being Monroe's highest finish at last year's state meet as the runner-up champion (she placed sixth in the 100 and 200). Yet it was still somewhat of a surprise when she won the event at this year's region meet in Lake Havasu, beating hometown favorite Lynsey Ryan with a time of 59.98 seconds to go with her wins in the 200 (24.96) and the 100 (11.39), a season-best mark.
"I was just expecting a good race," she said. "I wasn't focusing on, 'Is she going to beat me?' or 'Am I going to beat her?' I was just focused on running and doing the best I could do."
It's been that type of commitment to achieving peak performances that's driven Monroe to work through the plateaus all athletes experience, Mosher said.
"We had the highest of expectations for Nicolette coming in, and she's living up to them," he said. "That says a lot about her training and her character and the support she's had around her."
One of the qualities Monroe raised a level this year was the ability to pace herself through the four different events she competes in at a meet. In addition to her individual races, Monroe is a part of Cibola's 1,600 relay team that finished eighth at state on Wednesday.
"She's learned to strategize her races, even the 100 because you can't run your fastest every race," Mosher said. "She's a good student of that, and its paid off and its gotten her to this point."
She's also been driven this year by the possibility of running track in college, a dream that draws closer to reality with every point she adds to the Raider girls' total at state.
"It's been the best motivation," she said. "I have to do good. I have to prove myself. I think about the possibility of how good I could be if I work hard all the time and stay focused and push myself."