BURBANK — Just as Anthony Monroy was getting ready to take part in the most important race of his life, the heavens seemed to open up.
“It seemed like just before the race the rain started coming down hard,” said Monroy, a junior cross-country runner at Burroughs High. “And during the race the rain got pretty bad.”
Despite the precipitation, the wet weather couldn’t dampen Monroy’s spirits Saturday at the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Monroy had a fine showing in the competitive Division I race, placing 19th in 15 minutes 22.07 seconds over the 5-kilometer course.
Monroy said it was cold before his race.
“It was already cold, but the rain just made it worse,” said Monroy, who was the 2010 All-Area Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year. “But everybody had to run in it. You just had to go out and try and run your race.”
Because of the rain, some parts of the course became muddy, especially going up the hill past the mile mark and coming back down just before the two-mile mark.
Monroy moved up later in the race after passing the first mile in 29th place in 4:45.1. During the second mile he passed the marker in 10:23.03, and had moved up to 14th. However, he slowed a bit over the final mile.
Over the final 1.1 mile, La Costa Canyon’s Darren Fahy, Birmingham’s Mizrael Mendez, Arcadia’s Ryan Vargas and Dana Hills’ Connor Kaddatz and Ricardo Campuzano all passed Monroy, dropping him to 19th.
“It was a good experience for me,” Monroy said. “It makes me want to work harder and come back next year, where I hopefully can do better.”
Monroy also said running against the state’s top runners was a bit unnerving.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” he said. “I was pretty nervous.”
Monroy’s effort was the 10th-best among all the Southern Section runners in Division I and 15th among Southern Section runners across all five divisions, In addition, his time was 27th overall out of 971 runners across all five divisions, including the No. 7 time for a junior (all of whom came from Division I).
Monroy’s time was also 10 seconds faster than former Burroughs standout Western Nelson’s 15th-place result of 15:32 in 2008. Nelson is now running for Cal State San Marcos.
The Division I race was won by fellow Pacific League runner Ammar Moussa of Arcadia. Moussa, the league champion, had a winning time of 14:43. The Apaches also won the team competition in Division I.
Monroy earned a spot in the State Meet by running well in the Southern Section Division I finals Nov. 20 at Mount San Antonio College. In the Division I race, the junior placed sixth in 15:46. He also took part in the CIF preliminaries Nov. 13 at Mt. SAC, placing second in 15:19.