CENTRAL POINT -- Ever since he was tearing up the track at Scenic Middle School, Andy Monroe has been the talk of Central Point's running scene.
"Andy has always been the 'rumor'," Crater Track & Field Coach Kierra Huggins recalls of his earlier days.
Unlike high-school hallway gossip, the rumor became fact as Monroe became one of the best high school runners in Oregon and in the entire country. His 4:09 mile time his junior year was the second-fastest in the country at the time.
Unfortunately, the man unable to see his high school success is the one Andy would like to see it most. His father passed away when he was in eighth grade, giving his running an even greater meaning.
"There’s all this chaos in the world, but when you go for a run, it’s just blank and bliss," Monroe said, "Everything I did and achieved is definitely in his name and I definitely dedicate all my success to him. I know he’s looking down and hopefully he’s proud.”
It would be hard not to be. Entering the final events of his high school career, Monroe has won five individual state titles across track & field as well as cross country. Crater won the team state title in cross country during his junior and senior years.
He may be even more decorated if it weren't for an injury sustained this time last year. Running in the 3,000-meter state title race as the defending champ, Monroe felt a snap in his foot with about a mile left in the race. Unbelievably, he finished and won the race and then collapsed to the track. He had torn his plantar fascia and was unable to defend his 1,500-meter state crown.
The torn plantar fascia, which Crater Cross Country Coach Justin Loftus equates to breaking your leg, put Monroe on the shelf for months. Through rest and rehab, Monroe was able to get back in time for cross country season, and strive to help the Comets win their second-straight state title.
Months after his torn plantar fascia and fighting through two stress fractures in his foot, Monroe won his second 5K state title in cross country, helping the Comets to repeat as team champions.
“Coming back from that injury and winning a state title, I’ve gone over that with him many times, and it’s like, “Who can do that?” Loftus continues to ask himself.
Monroe is still fighting back from the stress fractures sustained during his cross country season. He has taken this track season easy. The Comets' talented runner will be running for Stanford on scholarship next season, so it makes no sense for him to put that bright future in jeopardy.
"I just want to be here for the guys," Monroe said, "Looking at the bigger picture, I have four more years of running."
He can go down to Paolo Alto, but kids in Central Point won't stop looking up to him any time soon.
“We have kid camps and my son participated in it," Huggins recalls, "At that time, he was in fourth grade, and he goes, 'Mom! Andy is my mentor.'"
Monroe joins a cross country team at Stanford that returns all seven runners from a season ago, moving Andy back to where he was just four years ago: a talented middle-school runner, who was just a rumor.
“It’s definitely going to be different going to the bottom of the chain again, but it’s going to be a lot of fun," Monroe said, "I’m going to be re-motivated.”
If his collegiate career goes anything like his high school career did, he will waste little time turning rumor into fact.
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