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Ironton’s Monroe 8th in state 1600 meters

COLUMBUS — Gary Monroe’s legs quit on him, but Monroe wasn’t about to quit on himself.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers junior distance runner watched Myles Corcoran of Clinton-Massie pass him on the final lap of the 1600-meter run Saturday at the Division II state track meet.

But Monroe knew he needed to pass someone to earn a top eight place in the event.

“My legs were dead. I had a little left for a kick. I had enough for the podium. Corcoran passed me and I passed him back to make the podium,” said Monroe.

Peter Fix of Dayton Oakwood won the race with a 4:17.48 time. Monroe ran a 4:23.43, more than two seconds more than last week when he was fourth in the regional meet.

“I knew the field was fast,” said Monroe. “A 4:28 came out of the regional last year as the best time and I got a 4:21 this year and was fourth.”

The fast field was evident when Monroe saw the first lap pace of 63 seconds.

“I’m usually at 65 (seconds). I was in the pack and looked down for a second on the third lap and when I looked up everyone was 10 yards ahead of me. I didn’t know what happened,” said Monroe.

But the Ironton runner managed to pull back into the race and sprinted down the homestretch to take eighth place in his first state meet.

“I just wanted to make the podium. Now I can set my goals a little higher for next year,” said Monroe.

Ironton coach Greg Cronacher was proud of his runner.

“Gary is proof of what a lot of hard work can accomplish,” said Cronacher. “He logged a lot of miles in the off-season and all his work paid off today.”