Hitting the track

Jim Monsen stands on the Richfield High School track. Monsen, a former RHS track star, is set to take the reins of the school’s boys’ track program next year.

By the end of Jim Monsen’s senior year at Richfield High School, he had been on three state championship track teams.

Now Monsen is getting a chance to see if he can replicate that success as the head coach of the program he was a part of as a youth.

“I feel like I have some pretty big shoes to fill,” Monsen said. Monsen was announced as the replacement for Bryan Griffin, who served as the RHS boys track coach since 2001.

“He built quite a legacy here,” Monsen said.

For Monsen, track is a bit of a family legacy. His brothers and sisters all ran track. His older sister, Kirsten Barney, is an assistant coach for RHS’s girls’ track team.

Monsen took over RHS’s boys’ cross-country team two years ago, and is preparing for his third year as coach of that program.

“We have a pretty good team coming up,” Monsen said.

Prior to coming back to Richfield, Monsen earned a degree in Spanish at Utah Valley University, where he ran on the school’s track team. After earning his degree, he coached for a year at American Leadership Academy.

Monsen now teaches Spanish at RHS, where he is already encouraging students to participate in track in the 2017 season.

“Track helps you learn a lot of tough lessons,” Monsen said. “No one likes to run … it teaches you have to get through things.”

Monsen said he loves the sport of track because it helps people learn how to reach goals, both physically and psychologically.

“You’re not only racing against every other person on the track, but you’re racing against yourself,” Monsen said. “It’s a mental game.”

In preparation for the upcoming year of competition, the RHS cross-country team is hosting a 5K/1-mile race on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 7:30 a.m.

“It’s open to anyone,” Monsen said. He said adults can choose to run the 1-mile if they want, and that the 5K follows portions of the school’s cross-country route.

“It will give people a taste of what our kids do,” Monsen said. He said Richfield’s cross-country course is known for being one of the toughest in the state, so some of the more challenging climbs will be excluded from the 5K.

There is a $15 fee for the 1-mile and a $20 fee for the 5K. The fees include a T-shirt, as well as prizes for the tops finishers. The race is a fundraiser for RHS’s cross-country program.

Registration for the race can be completed at RHS’s main office Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information, contact Monsen at (435) 893-1355 or via e-mail at james.monsen@seviersd.org.

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