No matter the reasoning, Bailey and Blake Hays are there for each other this season on the Monroe City track and field teams.

Maybe it’s because they run separate events. Maybe it’s because one is on the girls team and the other is on the boys team. Or perhaps, it’s simply because they want to see each other succeed.

No matter the reasoning, Bailey and Blake Hays are there for each other this season on the Monroe City track and field teams.

Bailey runs in the distance events, while her older brother Blake is a sprinter. But when one is racing, the other is not far away watching and cheering.

“Oh my goodness, the love they have for one another out there is evident,” Monroe City boys coach David Kirby said of the siblings. “It just goes to show what a loving family they come from. They are always pushing and encouraging one another. They both are just very positive and uplifting, not only to one another but also to their teammates.”

Aside from the team success this season, the brother and sister duo have had quite a bit of cheering to do for each other. They hope that continues Saturday when Monroe City hosts the Class 2 District 2 championship meet.

Blake, who is a sophomore, is the Panthers top runner in the 200 (23.08 seconds) and 400 meters (51.62), as well as a main cog for the sprint relay teams.

Bailey, a freshman, is the Lady Panthers best runner in the 1,600 (5:52) and 3,200 (12:38.31) in addition to running a leg in the 3,200 relay.

And according to their coaches, their success is driven by strong work ethics.

“Her work ethic is just phenomenal,” Lady Panthers coach Laura Mulvaney said of Bailey. “Even in the summer she would put in 40 miles a week because she wanted to excel this season. She has high goals set for this season.”

Said Kirby of Blake, “He is just a very blue-collar type of worker. He is always hammering out his workouts and always trying to make everyday better than the last and it is really showing on the track this season.”

Both athletes share the same individual goals this season.

“I want to make it to state in all my events this year,” Blake said. “Before the year started, I wasn’t for sure, now it’s my expectation to make it there.”

Blake will compete in the 400 in addition to a trio of relays -- 400, 800 and 1,600 -- starting in districts.

Bailey echoed the same.

“I set my goals this year to get to state in two events,” the freshman said. “I still have not beat my PR (personal record) in the 1,600 (5:49) from my time in middle school, but I have come close. I hope to get there Saturday (at Class 2 District meet) and hoping to make it all the way to state in both the 1,600 and 3,200.”

Bailey will compete in both distance races and in the 3,200 relay for districts.

Mulvaney mentioned although a lot of athletes can tend to be a little too far out of reach, such is not the case for Bailey.

“When we had our meeting at the beginning of the season and she said she wanted to go to state, I knew it was not unrealistic,” the coach noted. “I knew from the beginning she had the potential. She is a special runner.”

Bailey is also a smart and meticulous runner. Many people may think running events such as the mile and two mile does not require any pre-race planning or strategy.

Not Bailey. She has a game plan for the entire race.

“I like to get out fast in the first 100 meters to get out ahead of the crowd,” she said. “I know the fifth lap is usually my weakest so I am working on getting better in the middle of the race. And the last 200 meters I just try and give it my all.”

Blake also offers a piece of advice for her during the end of her races.

“He helps me and is always telling me when I cross the finish line I should be laying on the ground,” she said with a laugh. “He says I should be on the ground because I should give it everything I have at the end.”

So what advice does Bailey give to her older role model?

“Since he does sprints and I don’t really have a strong kick, I can’t really help him out too much,” she admitted.

Blake mentioned she helps him more than she knows.

“Although she is not a sprinter and I am not a distance runner, I think we both kind of pretend to we are so we can help each other out,” the sophomore said with a smile. “But really we both just try and help one another as much as we can by being there and supporting each other every race.”

And their coaches agreed.

“It’s really fun to watch them together,” Mulvaney said. “They never run the same events, but it doesn’t stop the from always being there for one another and talking to each other not only during the meets but also in practice.”

Kirby’s eyes and face lit up when he described seeing the two interact on the team.

“Being positive and supportive, that’s what it is all about and these two do a wonderful job of it,” the Panthers coach said. “We are very blessed to have them both on the team. They both are good kids, and I am glad they are running here for Monroe City.”