Former Huskies’ runner Monroe wins Atlantic Region title

SLIPPERY ROCK — With an opportunity to go to nationals on the line, the Lock Haven University men’s cross country team traveled to Slippery Rock hoping to find itself on top of the Atlantic Region.

In order to qualify for Nationals, the Bald Eagles knew they would need a strong run from their top runner — former Mifflin County Husky Addison Monroe.

On Saturday, Monroe delivered.

With a time of 32:23.6, Monroe completed the 10K race in stunning fashion, beating the rest of the field by 12 seconds to come away with his first Atlantic Region individual championship.

Monroe previously won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) individual championship on Oct. 22. He was also named the Atlantic Region Male Athlete of the Year for cross country earlier this month.

It was just the seventh Atlantic Region individual title in Lock Haven history, and between Monroe and his older brother Alex, the brothers hold four of the individual titles. Alex won three titles in his time at Lock Haven.

“It was great,” Addison Monroe said of his win. “I was very excited to race against a deep field again and get the job done.”

With the win, Monroe and the Lock Haven squad have earned a spot at Nationals, where the team will compete Nov. 19 in Saint Leo, Florida.

“I’ve got nothing but confidence for the big race coming up in two weeks,” Monroe said. “Two wins is a very exiting way to get the postseason rolling. I’m excited for the whole team to have its best race in Florida.”

The team as a whole finished second overall behind Shippensburg University at the Atlantic Region meet. For Lock Haven, the finish was a confidence builder.

“I think the regional performance is a big indicator of how well someone can do at nationals,” Monroe said. “There are some great guys in the Atlantic Region and I think they will perform well at nationals.”

For Monroe individually, the two wins mark the first two wins of his career. The two wins could not have come at a better time.

“Picking up two titles has been good for me,” Monroe said. “I have just had a long build up to this season and have been a lot smarter about training.”

Monroe noted the importance of his training, as the long season had an effect on his performance.

“Last year I had a great season until the postseason rolled around. Getting two titles in a row means I am ready to go when it counts and I couldn’t be happier with that,” Monroe said. “It’s been a great season.”

Now, Monroe can set his sights on the national championship, where he hopes to end the cross country season on a high note.

“I’m not a huge fan of having specific goals for big races. I’m just going to go out and run as smart and as hard as I can,” Monroe said. “I believe if I show up on that day I could be pushing toward the Top 10 but it all depends on the day.”

The Top 10 would be a remarkable accomplishment for Monroe. However, Monroe expressed his desire to keep his it simple.

“The postseason has gone great so I think anything can happen,” Monroe said. “My biggest goal is to simply have the best race of my life and have fun while I’m doing it along with some great teammates.”

Monroe will race again Nov. 19 at 8:30 a.m. on the Abbey Course at St. Leo.

The top three teams of seven student-athletes from each region automatically qualified. Additional berths were awarded to regions based on the first eight team finishers at the 2015 championships. The top three individual finishers from each region who are not part of a qualifying team automatically qualified for the championships. In addition, all individual competitors who finish in the top five overall places in their respective regional meet and are not a member of a qualifying team automatically advance to the championships.