Aiden Monistere Wins 1600m With 4:11 In Clash Of The Titans


There was a "Clash of the Titans" in the 1600m at the Ronnie Doyle Memorial last night. It included four-time Class 5A state champion in the event--Jesuit senior Michael Vocke, Parkview Baptist junior Aiden Monistere, and Highland Baptist sophomore Tyler Blissett, coming off an impressive performance at the LA 2 Mile Festival in Ruston where he ran a state-leading time of 9:19. 

Jesuit coach Cullen Doody has employed a "rabbitt" to help his top runners achieve their best times this season. He did it at Catholic's Tip Off Invitational where Vocke paced junior Brady Mullen for much of the race before dropping out. Mullen went on to run a 4:11.02, which is the No. 1 time in the Louisiana and No. 1 all-time in Louisiana for juniors. 

The young man from Jesuit led the way through the first half of the race coming through the first 800m in 2:08 with Vocke leading followed closely by Blissett and Monistere.

Monistere moved past Blissett with 500m to go and sat in behind Vocke. 

With 200m meters to go in the race, Monistere moved past Vocke and used a strong kick to finish with a time of 4:11.98. It's the No.2 time in Louisiana and the second fastest time for a junior in Louisiana history--behind Mullen's performance earlier this year. Nationally, Monistere's time currently ranks No. 15. 

"I was honestly surprised with what I ran," Monistere said. "I knew I felt I was in good shape to go sub 4:20 and get as close to 4:15 as possible, but I did a lot better than I thought."

"Strategically, I loved how I raced it," Monistere said. "I knew going in I just needed to stay smooth as long as possible and keep a good pace until I needed to move. I just wanted to glide behind Flanagan, the pacer, and Vocke the middle two laps until I would try to move during the last lap. The only thing I would change is my awful start."

Shortly after the waterfall start, Monistere's legs tangled with another runner, causing him to lose balance. He was able to recover quickly and move to the front. 

For Vocke, who finished with a 4:13.33, it was personal record by just over two seconds. Vocke's previous personal best was at last year's LHSAA's Class 5A State Outdoor Championships where he won his third consecutive title with a time of 4:15.60. 

"Michael has been working hard for three and a half years," Doody said. "He was basically a full-grown man as a freshman, which had a lot to do with his early success. It's very nice to see that he is still getting better."

Blissett, who finished third with a time of 4:19.95, also left the meet with a personal record. He bettered his previous best of 4:24.59 at last year's Louisiana Mile Festival. 

Now, Monistere has his sights on a strong finish to his junior season.

"My goals for the rest of the season are to first win state in my individual events and go for the team title," Monistere said. "After that, I want to go as fast as possible at RunningLane and Nike Nationals and go sub 9:00 in the 3200m and see how close I can get to 4:05 in the 1600m."

Monistere's next meet will be at the Mobile Challenge of Champions.