By Amy Donaldson
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Monroe and his Florida teammates arrived in Salt Lake City around midnight, exhausted and ready for bed after more than 10 hours of traveling.
Instead of immediately going to bed to get some rest before their 6 a.m. wake-up call, however, their coach sent them on a run.
"They were upset," said Florida coach Jason Galarza with a smile. "They wanted to relax. But we needed to try and get used to the altitude. ... Just walking up the steps here is hard."
That paid huge dividends as the Florida team went 3-1 in its first four bouts of the 2013 national Golden Gloves tournament at the Salt Palace. The fights continue all week, culminating with the championship bouts Saturday at 7 p.m.
"It really helped," he said. "It'll help the guys who fight (Tuesday) even more."
Monroe fought Utah's Danny Galloway on Monday night in the most competitive weight class — 165 pounds. Monroe's quick hands helped him defeat Galloway.
"I got to sleep about 2 a.m.," said Monroe, who was battling cottonmouth due to the altitude adjustment. "We had to run because we're at sea level (in Florida). ... I think I got two hours of sleep."
His eyes were bloodshot and he said his run, while just a couple of miles, was very difficult.
"My heart started beating and I had really bad cottonmouth," he said. "Luckily, I box 165 but I walk around at 160, so I can drink as much as I want."
He got into boxing at age 10 after participating in karate and football.
"I just couldn't see myself doing anything else," he said of boxing. "Everyone said I was kind of quick, so I stuck with it."
Like many of the Golden Glove athletes competing this week, he hopes to make boxing his career eventually.
"Chasing the dream is once in a lifetime," said the 18-year-old, who moved from Atlanta to Florida about five months ago. "I'm not going to lose my wits or my smarts."
Utahn Andrew Scott lost his heavyweight bout (201 pounds) to Eddy Guillen of Kansas City, Mo. Scott, 33, trains boxers and said retirement is next for him.
"I was exhausted," he said. "It was a great learning experience to do this. I think it shows how much more in shape you need to be to compete here. I thought I was, but I proved I wasn't."
The Rocky Mountain Region's third boxer, Wyoming fighter Abram Martinez, lost his 141-pound bout to Alemeo Carter of Kansas City, Mo.
Five other members of the Rocky Mountain Region and four Utahns compete in today's first-round bouts, which begin at 6 p.m. at the Salt Palace.