Autumn Parry / file photo
Monarch’s Isaac Green won his second consecutive Class 5A state championship this season. Green is the 2016 boys runner of the year.

LOUISVILLE — Monarch’s Isaac Green will go down as the most recognizable cross country state champion in Colorado history.

His size was something unseen in our state and for someone that had to be convinced that running was cool, he made it work for him.

“His career has been outstanding. And, for me, what I get out of it, is just what a great person he is,” said Monarch cross country coach Kent Rieder. “He’s extremely humble and it is almost embarrassing sometimes because we will go to a meet and he will be like a rock-star because everybody knows him.”

Some may argue that he spent more time after the race complementing the other runners on how good they did than actually running the race.

The Runner of the Year got his start in the sport almost by accident and we all have his sister Claire to thank.

The two were avid swimmers, and it was Claire that convinced her ‘little’ brother that there were certain benefits to pounding the pavement.

“My sister said you can leave practice if you want to go running, and I remember thinking, I don’t want to go running, that sucks,” Isaac Green said. “I got coerced into doing it, but it turned into something that I really love along with the guys specifically.”

He won his first state title at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs as a junior, out-kicking Broomfield’s Jake Mitchem down the stretch for the victory.

The 2016 season started with a renewed focus on not just defending his title but helping a strong Coyotes team to a team title. And Green bough in.

In the first meet of the season at Centaurus’ Invite, Green didn’t win something that only happened once in-state over the final two years of his career.

“It definitely gave me motivation but it wasn’t this world-breaking event either,” he recalls. ” It was more of a wake-up call and the whole motto of this season has been about the team and individually we won the meet, so that was a victory.”

Green would get the best of both worlds last month in Colorado Springs, winning his second individual title and along with Charlie Perry, Zach Litoff, Isaac Russo, Will Dixon, Greg Hibl and Brandon Wallace helped the Coyotes unseat three-time champion Mountain Vista as the team champs.

Said Rieder, who was named the coach of the year: “I think that was more important to him than the individual titles. It’s just kind of the way he is wired.”

Green has a passion for the Pacific Northwest and has taken an official recruiting trip to the University of Washington and has the dream of running for Oregon. His coach would love to see him stay close to home at CU, but Green — who recently gave up basketball to get ready for running at the next level — also has trips planned to Kansas and Oklahoma State.

“He has to make that decision by himself and obviously he is being courted by a lot of people,” Rieder said. “I heard some great advice a long time ago that you choose a school that even if you couldn’t run, you could see yourself being there for four years. And that is the advice I’ve always given kids, not to choose it based solely on running, it has to be more than that because you just never know.”

Only time will tell what the future holds for Green, but he has his sights firmly set on making the most of his running career that has open a lot of doors for him.

“As any athlete would say, the dream would be to go pro and become the best of the best,” he said. “I really want to see how far I can take it and see what I can accomplish.”

Jon Yunt: or