Tigers’ Tandem

Published 12:04 am Sunday, April 25, 2010

History is full of impressive duos. The frontier has Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, country music has Brooks and Dunn, and sports has Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

And the Ironton Fighting Tigers have Jon Monnig and Ryan Sias.

The senior duo are more than just track standouts. They have been involved in other sports and have excelled as well.

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Monnig has been a standout in football and track. A three-year starter in football, Monnig was the Southeast district Division III defensive Player of the Year last fall. That came on the heels of placing seventh in the state pole vault event last June.

Sias is one of the most versatile athletes to wear the orange and black. He played defensive back in football, he played basketball until his junior year, and this spring he has added tennis to his track schedule.

Sias and Monnig are both versatile in track. They both pole vault and run the first two legs on the 4×100 relay team. Sias has also ran the 100-meter dash, high jumped and long jumped. And they don’t just compete, they often win.

While the duo usually go 1-2 in the pole vault, Monnig said they are friendly rivals who push each other to do better.

“We’re really competitive. We try to beat each other, but we don’t care who wins. We just want to get the points. We always say, ‘let’s get one-two.’ We want to beat the other one, but it’s friendly.”

Competition is what fuels Sias. He said he participates in so many sports and events because he just needs something to do.

“I like to compete. I like the way Ironton sports demand you to compete and do well,” said Sias. “At the regional meet last year all I did was pole vault and I got so bored. I try to do as much as I can.”

Ironton coach Greg Cronacher said he has enjoyed his association with the pair the past six years.

“Both are good sprinters, both vault, both are good leaders,” said Cronacher. “They lead by doing. They’re very dependable. They always do the extra work.”

The duo know that the extra work is what will push them over the top if they want to reach their goals. Both want to not only qualify for the regional track meet but get a berth in the state meet.

Monnig wants the 4×100 relay team to advance, but he also sees it as a way to help his pole vaulting. He was seventh in the state last season when he tied a school record by clearing 14-feet.

“Right now I’m just trying to run in extra races to get in better shape and get on that bigger pole. I want to hit my prime at the right time. I do want to make a good run (in the tournament),” said Monnig.

Sias took up tennis this spring for several reasons. One, it was a new challenge. Two, it would help get him in better shape. And three, he just needed something else to do.

“I just decided to try tennis out. My friend (Aaron Pettiford) asked me to come out and I thought it would be fun. I like it pretty well,” said Sias.

Trying something different seems to be a theme for the duo, especially Monnig who takes it to the extreme. He has been skydiving and plans to do it again.

“I’ve done it once but I’ve got plans to do it again in June once I get out of track,” said Monnig. “I just wanted to do it for the experience. I did it and there’s something about it that makes you want to do it again.”

Versatility may lead Sias to try something else. He has tinkered with the idea of competing in the decathlon at the college level.

“I worked with (throwing) coach Pemberton in the discus a little bit. We talked about the javelin. I’d like to go someplace and run track. I’d like to go to Morehead State. I think that would be a nice place for me,” said Sias.

Monnig plans to pole vault at Marietta College, but for now he just wants to get better.

“Fifteen feet is my goal and I’d like to finish in the top three in the state,” said Monnig.

Sias would like to go to the state meet, too, but not just as a pole vaulter.

“I’d like to go in all four events,” said Sias.

In order for the duo — and their teammates — to have success, they know the key is to practice. Monnig said football has helped teach him the value of hard work.

“Football and track are different. Practices aren’t as intense as in football, but you still have to work,” said Monnig.

Sias agreed that track is a more relaxed atmosphere, but he said there is a time and place for everything.

“Everyone on the team understands it’s not as intense, but they know what they need to do. They know they need to get their work done,” said Sias.

Now that’s an impressive duo.