Amsterdam's Isaiah Brown just returned from an invitation-only Nike Sprint Elite Camp in Beaverton, Ore.
By MICHAEL KELLY
Fresh off returning to Amsterdam Sunday after a trip to Beaverton, Ore. to participate in last week's Nike Sprint Elite Camp, Izaiah Brown had a question of his own when asked what stuck out the most from his days spent with some of the country's top prep track and field athletes, Olympians and world-renowned coaches.
"Where do I even start?" he said.
Brown -- set to be a senior at Amsterdam High School starting this September -- took part for several days in the invitation-only camp which brought together 13 of the country's top high school track and field sprinters at Nike, Inc., World Headquarters. The AHS star was one of six boys at the camp, while seven female athletes also participated in four days full of workouts, informational seminars and more.
"There was just so much to do," said Brown. "I was never bored there."
Brown earned his invitation to the camp after a sparkling conclusion to his junior year at AHS. Besides winning his second consecutive state championship in the 400-meter dash, Brown also recorded 2014's fastest known prep split in the 4x400-meter relay at the national championships with a turn of 45.16 seconds.
Besides his state championships in the 400-meter dash, Brown also was the state champion in the 300-meter dash in 2013 and ran the anchor leg for the Rams' title-winning entry in the 4x400-meter relay this past spring, a team which also included Andrew Druziak, Julian Gallup and David Graveley.
Brown is also an eight-time outdoor track and field event champion in Section II, as well as the section's record holder in the 400-meter dash (46.61 seconds) and with his 4x400-meter relay teammates (3 minutes, 17.03 seconds). The Rams star is also either his school's sole or joint record holder in five events.
This past week's camp offered Brown a unique opportunity to both spend ample time training with runners at his level and work under the eye of distinguished coaches. Bob Kersee, who coached former Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, oversaw some of Brown's workouts, while the AHS runner also worked out in drills led by athletes such as Allyson Felix, who won three gold medals in sprinting events at the 2012 Olympics.
Since the camp took place in the summer, many of the workouts were tailored to athletes in less-than-peak condition, but Brown said it was easy to dial up the energy for the offseason excursion given the talent around him.
"It definitely pumped you up," he said. "I wanted to do as much as I could so I could show I was just as strong (as the other athletes)."
Brown said each drill turned into a competition, culminating in the athletes being divided into teams of two boys and two girls to make up squads for 4x200-meter relay teams. Teaming with Maryland's Darryl Haraway, Florida's Diamond Spaulding and fellow New Yorker Zola Golden, Brown's squad won the relay -- with Brown running the anchor leg for the team.
Most of the workouts the athletes performed were not ground-breaking in nature, Brown said, but the Rams sprinter said there were definite takeaways from the exercises. He said he made sure to get copies of some of the workouts to bring back to AHS, saying that some of the drills helped to show him he needed to improve his core strength to gain better balance while running at top speed.
More than anything, though, the camp's workouts showed Brown how he could better harness his abilities to achieve more in the sport.
"I want that to happen for me and the Amsterdam track team," Brown said.
While some of the workouts did veer into the intense stage -- after one set of drills, Brown said he was so tired he "wanted to crawl off the track" -- the camp's itinerary also featured plenty of time for fun. At the Nike headquarters, Brown said the athletes could take on any sport they could imagine, while other activities such as zip-lining and a cook-off were also part of the experience.
All in all, Brown said, the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the all-expenses-paid camp left no room for disappointment.
"I went out there and I enjoyed every bit of it," Brown said.
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