By Ken Barhorst
Anna senior Brady Cates dominated the sprint events at pretty much every meet he competed in this season, so when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury in the 100-meter dash at the County meet, it opened the door for the Russia Raiders to claim the County title.
But one Raider athlete refused to let that be the end of the story.
Russia sophomore Trevor Monnin wound up winning all three sprints at the meet — the 100, 200 and 400 dashes — and was awarded the Athlete of the Year medal for his performance. But it didn’t stay in his possession for long.
In what Angie Cates, Brady’s mother, called a “really awesome act of kindness,” Monnin put the medal in an envelope with a note that read “to the real athlete of the year,” and dropped it off, with no fanfare, at the home of Dean Stewart, a Russia resident and the longtime track coach at Anna.
Stewart knew what it meant, and when Anna held its spring sports awards night, he presented it, along with the note and the story behind it, to Cates.
“My wife came home from work and found it in the door,” Stewart said. “It was an amazing thing to do. But knowing Trevor, it doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s a really good athlete and has always been a nice kid. Brady has a lot of friends around the county and a lot of people like him. And I think this shows it.”
Angie Cates was quite moved by Monnin’s act. She spoke at length about it, needing to pause several times when she choked up.
“It was such a great act of kindness,” she said. “And it’s certainly something we can all learn from. These kids form a bond and they respect each other’s abilities and respect the sacrifices that are made. I posted something on facebook. I just had to let people know what Trevor did.”
Brady admitted to being affected by it all.
“I had no idea,” he said. “I was really surprised because no one had mentioned anything to me. I know Trevor real well, and we talk a lot at the meets. I was surprised when it happened, but not surprised he did it. We run a lot of the same events together and we get along real well.
“I really appreciated what he did, and I texted and told him,” he added. “The people in Russia didn’t even know about it, so Trevor didn’t do it to be recognized.”
Proof of that probably lies in the fact that efforts to talk to Monnin were unsuccessful.
It took away a lot of the disappointment Brady was feeling after suffering the injury. After all, he ran in the state meet his previous three years.
“For this to happen his senior year is disappointing, but he’s had a great career,” said Angie Cates.
“It sure meant a lot to Brady,” Stewart added about Monnin’s gesture. “It made him realize that people respect him. And I know that he would turn around and do the same thing.”