Amsterdam High School's Izaiah Brown poses with the Male Athlete of the Meet trophy following Saturday's Eddy Meet in Schenectady.
By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
SCHENECTADY — For the duration of Saturday’s 73rd annual William F. Eddy Jr. Track and Field Meet, no athlete attracted as much attention as Amsterdam High School’s Izaiah Brown.
The sophomore entered Saturday’s competition at Schenectady High School with a mountain of expectations, as word of his ability has spread during the past year since his sensational trip to the Eddy Meet in 2012. Last year, Brown entered the event considered to be one of the Northeast’s top track and field meets as an unknown and took it by storm, capturing that day’s 400-meter dash in a blistering time of 47.8 seconds.
Brown’s 2013 encore at the Eddy Meet did not disappoint. The sophomore dominated the event’s 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, and ran the closing leg for the Rams’ winning 4x400-meter relay team. Brown raced the 200-meter dash in 22.38 seconds and lowered his personal-best time in the 400-meter dash to 47.72 seconds, an achievement which doubled as a new school record.
A top goal Saturday for Brown was to break the meet’s record in the 400-meter dash of 47.22 seconds, but the stars did not align, as the top-flight competition Brown had hoped for did not materialize; at 49.24 seconds, second-place finisher Vincent Jackson, from Amityville, was the only other runner in the event’s field to break 50 seconds.
AHS boys head coach Kevin Wilary said the lack of setting a meet record did not diminish Brown’s day.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” said Wilary. “He pushed it. He went hard. He was hurting after his race because he gave it everything he had. He just didn’t have that kind of time in him today.”
The powers-that-be agreed with Wilary that the lack of a record-breaking time did not take away from Brown’s performance, as the sophomore earned his second consecutive distinction as the competition’s Male Athlete of the Meet, a prize that included a paid-for trip to compete in the sport’s national championships this June in North Carolina.
As a cherry on top for Brown, the Ram’s three victories led the AHS boys to win the overall team competition with 46 points, edging out second-place Shaker with 36. The team victory was the first ever for the AHS program at the prestigious Eddy Meet.
Brown had said during the week leading up to the meet that he felt pressure heading into Saturday. Once at the meet, though, the sophomore seemed to gain energy from the bevy of well-wishers calling out to him before each race.
“It’s awesome, it really is, just to have people coming up and telling me I did a great job,” said Brown. “I’m out here to have fun and to do well with my team, and I try not to let it go to my head. We’re all here (as a team) together.”
There was little fun for Brown’s opponents. La Salle Institute’s Gabe Smith, a senior sprinter who faced off against Brown in the Big 10 and in Saturday’s 200-meter dash, said the ritual of losing to the AHS sophomore had grown tiresome — even if competing against Brown is a neat feat.
“I’d just like to beat him one of these days,” said Smith. “But he can do it so easily. It’s cool; I like that he can do it so easily. He’s just killing me and he’s doing it with ease.”
Now through the pressure-cooker of Saturday’s Eddy Meet, Brown said he expected to waste little time feeling satisfied.
“I always look forward,” said Brown. “It’s awesome to do this again and I never expect anything. It’s just kind of how I am. I’m always living in the here and now, and don’t worry about what’s going to happen next.”
What is next for Brown is the Section II Group 2 Championships with the Rams, and then his attention will turn to qualifying for and competing at the state championships. Following that, Brown has his ticket to the national championships if he elects to punch it. A year ago, Brown missed the national event because of an injury and he elected not go to this year’s winter national championships by his own volition.
But when asked if a trip to this year’s national championships was in his plans, Brown had his answer ready.
“This time around, I’m going to do it,” he said.