He introduced himself onto the SWAC athletics scene in an emphatic fashion by winning the 200-meter race at the recently held Vulcan Invitational in Birmingham. Not only did he win but his time put him in the top 10 fastest times by a freshman and top 45 in the country. It came as no surprise when he was crowned as the SWAC Athlete of the Week.
But who is Alexavier Monfries? The Jamaican-born sprinter has a modest view of himself.
“I wouldn’t say I am anything special. I’ve had a life most people can relate to. Growing up my family was my mom, sister, and grandmother.” Monfries said.
The sprinter believes he did not have a perfect childhood but it was a fun childhood.
“My childhood had its ups and downs, but mostly it was fun. Growing up in Jamaica there was always something fun to do as a kid and at times we got into trouble for it. It wasn’t a perfect childhood but it was a fun childhood.” Monfries said.
Being raised by a sports-loving mother, Alexavier’s developing his own love for sports was inevitable.
“I developed a love for sports through my mom. My mom was involved in different sports, netball, track, and soccer. She had a deep love for sports in general.” Monfries said.
Monfries’ mother exposed him to competitive athletics at an early age.
“In Jamaica, we have what we call boys and girls championships, which is one of the biggest high school meets ever. My mother used to take me to those as a child.” the Falmouth, Trelawny native said.
Alexavier did not always want to be a track athlete; his interest lay elsewhere, with a different sport.
“Growing up I was not into participating in track, my favorite sport was soccer. It wasn’t until age 12 that I started taking track seriously. Even then I still harbored thoughts of a soccer path.” Monfries said.
His high school track coach played a path-changing role in Monfries taking the track route.
“I had made the soccer team in my school at age 12, however, while I was getting ready for practice the track coach came for me. He told the soccer coach to forget about me, and that from then on I would be on the track team,” Monfries said.
A friendly rivalry with his mother brought out the competitor in Monfries.
“My mother taught at a different school than the one I attended. The two schools were competitors, rivals even. So she would always say they had good athletes at her school and I had no chance against them. Of course, I would tell her that non from her school would beat me in a race. We had that healthy back and forth banter.” Monfries said.
It would turn out that mother knew best.
“We got to the meet and I raved two sprinters from my mother’s school, one in the 100 meters heat, I came in second. I raced the other in the 200 meters heat and came in first. So we got to the finals of the 100 meters finals and they both beat me. My mother rubbed it in my face. I guess it was her way of making sure I developed the determination to do better. From that point, I became more competitive.” Monfries said.
Just like precious stones and fertile soils result from tragic volcanic activity, Monfries’ journey to Grambling resulted from unfortunate events.
“Even though I didn’t know at the time everything that happened since 2018 brought me to GSU. When my mother passed on due to cancer I had to move from Falmouth to live in the capital city, Kingston to live with my aunt and go to school, Excelsior High School there. When I got to Kingston I competed pretty well. I wasn’t the best but I was very competitive, unfortunately, I tore my hamstring, which sidelined me for several months,” Monfries said.
“While making my way back from recovery COVID-19 hit and athletic activities were suspended. COVID-19 hitting when it did was a blessing in disguise for me, because it gave me more time to fully recover and rehabilitate. Fast forward to 2021, athletic activities resumed, I started clocking impressive times. Our team broke the school record for the 4X4 meter race and set the second-fastest time by a high school in Jamaica. I made the national team. Several universities and colleges reached out but the “G” stood out for me.”
Monfries, a biology major and a future medical student has his mother as his biggest inspiration.
“My inspiration has always been my mom. She always challenged me. When I did good she’d congratulate me and when I underperformed she’d rub it in my face (chuckles) before encouraging me to do better. She was my best friend. I could always go to her about literally anything and everything, she’d always have the best advice for me.” He said.
When asked what his biggest achievement is, he doesn’t even give me a chance to finish asking that question.
“Making the Jamaican national team without a doubt is my biggest achievement thus far. In my opinion, the Jamaican sprinting team is the hardest team to make it into. The competition for spots is so intense.” Monfries said.
Aristotle once said “there is no genius without some touch of madness,” which explains why for all his athletic prowess and academic excellence Monfries is a Manchester United supporter and likes pineapples on his pizza. On a serious note though, GSU has a special talent in Monfries. GO TIGERS!