Boys Track and Field: Providence high jumper Mike Monroe looks to go over (and land on) top
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media April 3, 2014 9:02PM
Mike Monroe for Providence Track and Field for Spring Photo Day at Andrew High School, Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 in Tinley Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
and Field 2014
TOP 10 SOUTHLAND TEAMS
1. Providence: Class 3A runner-up will be led by Mike Monroe, pole vaulters Brandon Denler and Andy Jatis, hurdler Luis Vasquez and Sean McGrath.
2. Thornton: Jauan Wesley, Tifonte Hunt and Cavion Clanton return from state champion 400 relay. Adonis Johnson also is a threat.
3. Bloom: Versatile trio of James Harriel, Jonah Wiley and Daylen Hubbard the best of the defending Southland Conference champion.
4. Sandburg: Downers North Sectional champ’s depth includes Will Becker, Sean and Chris Torpy, Denis O’Callaghan and Peter Rodriguez.
5. Lincoln-Way Central: State qualifiers Jack Meadows, Chris Kaminski, Tommy Kolacki and Ethan Blatti are back from H-F Sectional champ.
6. Thornridge: Last year’s fifth-place team in Class 2A has talent in Nick Fizer, Deonta Moses, Trajuan West and Leeshaun Evans.
7. Lincoln-Way East: Class 3A 110 hurdle finalist Austin Corydon, Anthony Colangelo and Ben Walczak should lead Griffins.
8. Lockport: Distance standout Will Giroux, Cody Andrus and Adrian Walkosz are top candidates to get points for Porters.
9. Shepard: A team to watch with Josh Maier, Kyle Dye, Corry Williams and Sean Johnson likely to be Astros’ leaders.
10. Illiana Christian: Three returnees from Class 2A third-place 3,200 relay: Kevin Vroegh and Tony and Nick Wondaal.
(in alphabetical order)
Matt Anyiwo, H-F; Cavion Clanton, Thornton; Austin Corydon, Lincoln-Way East; Nick Fizer, Thornridge; Treston Forbes, St. Rita; Will Giroux, Lockport; Tevin Graham, Hillcrest; James Harriel, Bloom; Tifonte Hunt, Thornton; Julian Hylton, Lincoln-Way North; Josh Maier, Shepard; Matthew Martinson, Marian Catholic; Mike Monroe, Providence; Quinten Nash, Crete-Monee; Brandon Riley, Morgan Park; Nikita Smith, T.F. North; Luke Taccola, Oak Forest; Kevin Vroegh, Illiana Christian; Jauan Wesley, Thornton; Jonah Wiley, Bloom.
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:56AM
Long before Providence’s Mike Monroe became state runner-up in the high jump, he had to clear an obstacle in junior high.
“I tried out for the track team in seventh grade, didn’t make it,’’ he said.
Instead of giving up on track, Monroe returned for tryouts the next year at Liberty Junior High.
“Made it eighth grade,’’ he said.
After mostly running the 400 and 800 meters back then, Monroe noticed a group of teammates working on the high jump in practice.
“I went over there and just threw myself over it and made it,’’ he said.
Although Monroe claimed he was “not very good’’ in eighth grade, he caught the eye of longtime Providence coach Ken Raymond when Monroe jumped 5 feet, 6 inches in his first high school meet.
“He said ‘You’re a high jumper. I don’t care if you like it or not. This is what you’re doing,’ ’’ Monroe said. “I’m so glad he said that.’’
Raymond coached the Providence track team for years before Mark Coglianese became head coach. Raymond still works with the high jumpers and distance runners.
“Mike is one of those super-kids you’d like every athlete to be,’’ Raymond said. “He works tremendously hard ... He really understands the event. He probably could coach it.’’
Monroe jumped 6-7 as a sophomore to take third place in the 2012 Class 2A state meet. Providence was moved up to Class 3A last year and Monroe cleared 6-9 to take second.
“To succeed at high jump, you need to be technically sound in everything, or else it’s not going to happen,’’ Monroe said. “Every year I get stronger and my body composition changes. I have to rework everything I do.
“Usually indoor I start out slow because I’m trying to put the pieces back together. By the time I can get out on the track, get myself back into rhythm, I start going high again.’’
Monroe pointed out an important improvement he recently made in his technique.
“When I plant my foot on my last step, I used to just dive into the bar,’’ he said. “I would have a problem with jumping straight up first. Now I’m getting to the point where I can jump straight up before I start diving into the bar.’’
His personal best of 6-11 came last summer in a qualifying meet for the IAAF World Youth Championships.
“He’s a great athlete,’’ Coglianese said. “He could be a good hurdler.’’
Before he leaves Providence for the University of Pennsylvania, Monroe has a specific goal this season.
“I want to hit every single mark that I lay down and execute my form perfectly at the meet I need to do it at, which is outdoor state,’’ he said.