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Ironton’s Monroe signs to run for Golden Eagles’ program

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior track and cross country runner Gary Monroe signed a letter-of-intent to run for the Morehead State University Golden Eagles. Attending the signing were coaches and family members: seated from left, Josey Barnhart, father Gary Monroe, Gary, mother Angie Martin and Mandy Dunlevy; standing from left, boys track coach Greg Cronacher, Julie Monroe, Aaron Monroe, Wesley Monroe, Hayleigh Barnhart, Teresa Applegate, Henry Applegate and girls head coach and distance running coach Tim Thomas. (The Ironton Tribune / Jimmy Walker)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

Gary Monroe has spent the past four years running track and cross country at Ironton. He’ll be running a little further the next four years.

Monroe will add more miles not only in his workouts but from home to school after signing with the Morehead State Golden Eagles and coach Tommy Barksdale.

But mileage by foot or car doesn’t bother the Fighting Tigers’ senior running standout who set a school record last year in the 1600 with a 4:21 time at the regional meet and finished eighth in the state meet.

“It’s an easy drive (to Morehead),” said Monroe. “It’s a good college and an excellent program. I think I’m far enough away but I’m still close enough to get home if I need to.”

Monroe said he normally runs up to 60 miles a week, but he said his college workouts will be even more demanding.

“I’ll run between 70 to 75 miles the first week. It’ll be tough, but I’ll just have to budget my time better,” said Monroe.

Monroe not only set a record in the 1600 for Ironton but he is the anchor for the 4×800 relay team that holds the Ironton record in that event. Also on the team are Pierce Reeves, Adam Stumbo and Dustin Moritz.

Besides the 1600 and 4×800, Monroe has ran the open 800 and 3200 as well as the 4×400 relay.

“(Morehead) has a good 800 guy. I’m not as good in the longer races. I’ll probably run the mile. It’s what I do best,” said Monroe.

Being close to home was just one reason Monroe picked the Eagles over other programs such as Shawnee State, Rio Grande, Ohio University, Miami, Ohio, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Wright State, Central Michigan, Mississippi State, Robert Morris and Detroit Mercy.

“They have great academics. If it was just about running, I would have gone to Shawnee,” said Monroe. “I like the team, I like the place and I like coach Barksdale and what he’s doing. I really didn’t even think about it being a Division I school.”

Monroe said a lot of his success can be attributed to the Ironton program and running coach Tim Thomas.

“I wouldn’t be where I’m at if not for (coach Thomas),” said Monroe.

“I was just here to have fun and my freshman year I got spanked on the track. I had a 2.7 GPA (grade point average), but because of running and the coaches always on me, I realized I’d better get it in gear. Now I’ve got a 4.3 GPA and it’s all because of running.”

Monroe is undecided on a major but said he is leaning toward teaching or physics.

Gary is the son of Gary Monroe of Ironton and Angie Martin of Piketon.