Indoor track: Brown always puts team first
ALBANY The high jump competition was underway when Izaiah Brown sprinted across the SEFCU Arena infield to cheer on two of his Amsterdam teammates who was running the 600-meter race. Then Brown took off again, catching those guys on the other side of the track as he pumped his fists and yelled some more.
The Rams’ junior standout eventually found his way back to the high jump area, where he won out in a dual with Devon Sweenor of South Glens Falls as part of Sunday’s Section II Division II championship meet.
“We’re like a family. These are my brothers and sisters,” said Brown. “Since they help me, I help them.”
Brown has often mentioned the support he’s received and how much it means during his fast climb to elite track and field status.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere without my team,” said the 17-year-old multi-state champion. “You just saw half of them here supporting me, pumping me up, talking to me about steps back, how I should speed up.”
Before his high jump success with a best of 6-foot-2, Brown defended his title in his indoor specialty, the 300. He also anchored Amsterdam’s winning 1,600 relay to close out the meet.
“It’s always about helping the team,” said Brown, who led the Rams to a second-place finish, behind Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. “I always want to get maximum points.”
“In a lot of races, like today, he doesn’t even think about time,” said Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary, after the 300. “He runs to win.
“That was his typical Section II run. First lap, he takes the lead. Second lap, he pushes it.”
Brown was encouraging fellow Rams in earlier heats before his winning dash over a lap and three-quarters.
“It’s not ‘I,’ ” said Brown. “It’s a team. I want to see everyone do as well as they can.”
Brown took the 300 in 36.55, a day after running a fifth-place 34.40 at the Collegiate Invitational at The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.
“He was invited. It was an honor,” Wilary said. “It’s not uncommon for them to run two days in a row in indoor track.”
Brown clocked his fastest 300 at The Armory early in the season, a winning 34.30 at the Bishop Loughlin Games which is No. 2 on the all-time Section II list. His best before that was a 34.38 last season when he won the state championship at Cornell University and set a New York sophomore record.
“A kid [Jordan Jimerson of Union Catholic, 34.36] pushed me beyond where I wanted to go. It was only our second meet of the year, and I wasn’t ready for that,” Brown said of his run at the Bishop Loughlin Games. “It came down to the last turn. I was able to hold him off, but I was hurting.”
Brown won going away Sunday after starting in the third lane. He made up the stagger near the end of the first lap, passing Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Luke Cameron before surging and adding another 300 win to his resume. Brown won the 300 at the Big 10 championship meet as well as the 600 and high jump late last month.
“He’s something else. He’s an elite athlete. It’s always intimidating when he’s in there,” said Cameron, a senior. “What can you do? You just try to run your race.”
Christian Brothers Academy star David Byrd ran the fastest 300 race in Section II history in 1995 with a 33.54, while the state record of 33.27 was set in 1999 by Anthony Ewers of Lawrence.
“I’ve been trying to get in the 33s. It’s been a goal for some time. I’ve been close, but I haven’t been able to get that last burst,” said Brown. “I know I’ll be pushed at the states at Cornell, so maybe it will happen there.”
The Burnt Hills boys got individual wins from Robert Kirsty in the 600, John Rabideau in the 1,600, Patrick McGuinness in the 3,200 and Jordan Braiman in the pole vault. McGuinness also ran a leg on the Spartans’ first-place 3,200 relay.
Anthony Santorio of South Glens Falls won the shot put and weight throw.
Julian Gallup won the long jump and David Graveley won the 55 hurdles, and the pair joined Brown and Andre Druziak on Amsterdam’s triumphant 1,600 relay that edged Burnt Hills.
Burnt Hills also won the girls’ team title, getting individual wins from Janelle Rothaker in the 1,000, Dani Martino in the 1,500, Jaleah Owens in the 55 hurdles, Samantha Hjelmar in the high jump, Kalli Manly in the pole vault and Daniell McDonnell in the triple jump. Morgan Burchhardt and Amalia Daviero helped the Spartans take the 800 and 1,600 relays.
Although Shenendehowa only had one individual winner, the Plainsmen held off Saratoga Springs, 128-125, to win the Division I girls’ championship.
Emily Crounse (1,000, 3:06.40) was the only individual winner for Shenendehowa, while Ellery Bianco of Saratoga won the 55 (7,38), 300 (42,37) and the 55 hurdles (8.68).
Jay Navin won the 1,000 (2:35.82) and the 1,600 (4:18.50) and also ran on the victorious 3,200 relay to lead the Saratoga boys to the Division I team championship. Sophomore Aidan Tooker chipped in with an impressive victory in the 3,200.