By ADAM SHINDER
Recorder Sports Staff
As a varsity athlete at Amsterdam High School, Noah Monge lettered in four different sports -- track and field, football, tennis and soccer. Sunday, he had three different skills to focus on, but he didn't have much time for transition.
Monge competed Sunday in the 2013 Hudson Crossing Triathlon in Schuylerville as one of more than 400 participants from across the state. After running in a half-marathon in Cortland this past November, Sunday's event was Monge's first triathlon. Classified as a "sprint" triathlon, the event consisted of a 500-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a three-mile run, which Monge completed in one hour, 23 minutes.
That time was good to finish around 15 minutes behind the top competitors in the field.
Though Sunday was his first triathlon, Monge is no stranger to top-level athletics as a previous co-holder of the Amsterdam High School record in the 100-meter dash, a mark he set just a few months after switching from tennis to track and field as his spring sport.
His exploits as a sprinter earned him a Special Talent scholarship to SUNY Cortland, where he competed in track and field until his career was cut short due to a torn hamstring. Once he recovered, however, Monge started to switch his focus toward distance events.
"When I got hurt at Cortland, I kind of got more into endurance sports and running long-distance," Monge said. "So, that's when I first did my half-marathon up there. And once I did that, I always liked to swim, so I thought about starting to go into triathlons."
His race Sunday was relatively short, considering his original plan to go straight into a half-Ironman -- which consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run -- but when he was told that it would be a good idea to get some experience swimming in open water before testing the highest levels of his endurance, Monge opted to get his feet wet in the shorter race.
"This was just a sprint, basically just to get my experience up in triathlons," he said. "People told me I needed to get an open water swim in first (before doing a half-Ironman), so that's why I did this sprint, because swimming in open water was so much harder."
Despite the difficulty of that first leg, Monge said that because he's been used to training for longer distances, he still had plenty left in the tank when he finished up the three-mile run.
"I wasn't really training for sprinting events, so it was like I could've gone more in the run," he said.
With his first triathlon out of the way, Monge -- who graduated from SUNY Cortland in May with a bachelor's degree in history and has accepted a position with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, which he will begin training for next month -- can now focus on stretching his legs over even greater distances. His goals for the future include competing in a half-Ironman, a full 26.2-mile marathon and -- eventually -- running in ultramarathons.
And his future in law enforcement has served as an even greater motivating factor for his training.
"This actually made me train even harder, since I know going to the police academy will test me physically and mentally, and competing in endurance races -- especially triatholons -- hits both of these aspects, because you have to be physically and mentally strong throughout the whole race," he said. "I'm trying to go to the academy and be the most physically-fit one there."