Burroughs High cross-country and track and field Coach John Peebles has helped train his share of accomplished runners in his more than a decade with the Indians programs.
He coached Carolyn Brown to a CIF Southern Section title in the girls' 800 meters in 2000, helped Tony Ahr qualify for state competition in the boys' 1,600 in 2001, coached Sadee Martinez to two State Meet appearances in girls' cross-country (2006, '07) and a state bid in the girls' 1,600 in 2007 and helped guide Western Nelson to the State Meet in boys' cross-country in 2009 and the boys' 3,200 in 2009.
Needless to say, Peebles has seen his share of quality athletes pass through the school.
Peebles is a person who chooses his words carefully, and is not one to throw out compliments for the sake of a nice-sounding quote. In fact, the coach usually thinks long and hard before answering a question.
That's why when Peebles proclaims who is the best athlete he's ever coached, it is a statement that means something. That athlete would be Burroughs junior Anthony Monroy.
"I would put him now as the best runner I've ever coached," Peebles said. "Apologies to the other runners who I've coached. But, at this point, he's the best."
Monroy, who just finished a fine cross-country season with the Indians, said he owes a great deal to Peebles for helping him develop as a runner, and he was taken aback by Peebles' assessment of his talents.
"I'm pretty overwhelmed by that. He has really helped me a lot," Monroy said. "He talks to me before races and he lets me know what I should be doing. I wouldn't be where I'm at without him."
Monroy showed off his talents amid strong competition in the Pacific League. He also had solid showings in invitationals and in CIF Southern Section action. All of his efforts culminated with a 19th-place finish in the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships.
It is because of his accomplishments that Monroy has been named the 2010 All-Area Boys' Cross-Country Runner of the Year by the writers and editors of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.
It is the second straight season Monroy has garnered the honor.
Coming off a sophomore track and field season in which Monroy qualified for the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet in the 3,200, he worked hard during the summer and was ready to attack his junior cross-country season.
Peebles said he and Monroy were working up to the State Meet, as the coach wanted his runner to peak at just the right time.
"We were cutting down on some of the stuff, but he's also a strong kid and he can handle whatever is thrown at him," Peebles said.
In the race Nov. 27 at Woodward Park in Fresno, Monroy had a fine showing in the competitive Division I race, placing 19th in 15:22.07 seconds over the 5-kilometer course.
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.
Because of the rainy conditions, some parts of the course became muddy during the state meet race, especially going up the hill past the mile mark and coming back down just before the two-mile mark.
Monroy said it was cold before his race.
"It was already cold, but the rain just made it worse," Monroy said. "But everybody had to run in it. You just had to go out and try and run your race.