By MICHAEL KELLY
BURNT HILLS -- No Izaiah Brown, no problem.
The Amsterdam High School boys outdoor track and field team capped its dominant performance at Thursday's Burnt Hills Invitational with a win in the 4x400-meter relay without Brown, the reigning state champion in the 400-meter dash.
"As a whole team, we had an awesome day," said AHS head coach Kevin Wilary, whose team combined to capture first-place finishes in 10 of the day's 17 varsity events.
Seniors Jared and Julian Gallup, junior David Graveley and sophomore Edgar Maldonado combined to give the Rams the meet-closing win in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3 minutes, 31.9 seconds -- three seconds better than second-place Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Not having Brown gave the rest of the Rams extra motivation for the race.
"[Brown not being in the race] made it a lot more important," said AHS senior Jared Gallup. "We still wanted to win it. A lot of people think [our success] is just about Izaiah, but the rest of us are working really hard, too."
Brown missed the race after feeling ill following competing -- and winning -- in the 4x100-meter relay and 400-meter dash, races which were run in consecutive fashion. Wilary said the star junior became sick after completing the 400-meter dash in 48.7 seconds.
"And I'm not going to make him run another race when he's not feeling well," Wilary said.
Brown also won the day's high jump.
Besides Brown's three solo wins and the two relay victories, AHS received first-place finishes from six individuals. While the victories from senior Lucas Dorr (100-meter dash), Julian Gallup (long jump), Graveley (400-meter hurdles) and sophomore Omahri Sturdivant (triple jump) were expected for AHS, a pair of throwers came up big for the Rams.
Junior Jose Perez took a victory in the discus throw with a toss of 113 feet, 11 inches, while senior Giacamo Lanzi won the shot put with a mark of 42 feet, 8.75 inches.
The victory for Perez continued a strong season for the thrower, who has been a constant scorer for the Rams in league meets.
"But this is my first win ever at an invitational," said Perez, who bettered his personal-best throw by more than 11 feet. "That's crazy."
Lanzi's win was equally impressive, as the senior is a rookie thrower. One of his teammates said the success was not surprising, though.
"I know Giacamo has been working really hard -- and not just at practice; on his own time, too," said Jared Gallup, who celebrated Thursday his 18th birthday with his twin brother, Julian.
Another area winner from Thursday's competition was Fonda-Fultonville senior Michael Sweet, who won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.3 seconds. Sweet's win was the latest in a superlative senior season.
Also picking up a first-place finish for the Braves was senior Ryan Park, who cleared 12 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault.
Senior Dalton Hunter came in second place in the long jump for the Braves.
F-F also received a number of third-place finishes. The club's 4x800-meter relay team was one such entry, as was Tristan Nellis in the 400-meter hurdles and Ben Vardai-Davidson in the pole vault.
The invitational was a non-scoring event for teams.
Turning in an impressive time in its victory for the Rams was the club's 4x100-meter relay team, which included Brown, Dorr, Julian Gallup and sophomore Bryan Stanavich, the last of which came in second place in the 200-meter dash. The Rams foursome finished in 43.3 seconds, bettering its Section II-best time in the event.
But the breakout star for AHS was Maldonado, who came in fourth place in the 400-meter dash and was a part of the winning 4x400-meter relay team. In the open event, Maldonado finished in 53.2 seconds; in the relay, the sophomore had a split of 53.8 seconds.
Previously, Maldonado's times in the 400 meters had been in the 56-to-57 seconds range.
"He told me he was going to beat that and I thought it would be close," said Wilary. "But he crushed it."
"I told Coach I was going to surprise him," Maldonado said.
The Rams likely surprised the rest of the field, too, with its 4x400-meter relay win without Brown. Flashing a smile, Maldonado said the victorious relay team members were likely to use their bus ride back to Amsterdam to remind Brown they had won Thursday without his services.
"Probably," said Maldonado. "We'll do a bit of bragging."
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