By MICHAEL KELLY
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- There might be too many exciting pieces to this season's boys indoor track and field team at Amsterdam High School for head coach Kevin Wilary to handle.
With the program in its second year, the Rams' roster size has doubled -- "The list keeps getting larger every day," Wilary said at Tuesday's practice at AHS -- and the extra bodies are expected to become immediate contributors.
Going through some of the athletes he is excited about for this upcoming season, Wilary starts with a pair of new faces in Jared and Julian Gallup. The brothers starred in the fall for AHS squads -- Jared played soccer, while Julian suited up for the football team -- and should be factors in the sprinting events for Wilary's club, which has its first competition in mid-December.
Following those two newcomers, Wilary goes right to a couple of veterans in David Graveley and Omahri Sturdivant as athletes the coach expects to become break-out performers this winter.
After going through those four names and a couple of others, Wilary paused and realized he had temporarily forgotten one key name.
"I mean, Izaiah, too -- but he always looks fantastic," said Wilary, referring to Izaiah Brown, the 2013 state champion in the sport's 300-meter dash.
Brown was in the same boat, though, as his coach. Now a junior, Brown -- who is also the reigning state champion in the 400-meter dash during the outdoor season -- mostly wanted to talk Tuesday about his new teammates.
"The new team members we have are exciting," said Brown. "We've got new people, so it's going to be fun."
Brown is likely to team up with Julian Gallup in the 4x400-meter relay. Brown said he wants to push Gallup this winter to become a better sprinter, and the Rugged Rams' starting quarterback from this fall seemed more than amendable to that idea.
"There's a lot of people that are very good athletes on this team," said Gallup. "I'm hoping to push them and have them push me, too, so that we can be as good as we can be."
Gallup said he had wanted to try track and field in the past, but had never gotten the chance because his baseball season overlaps with track and field's outdoor season. So, for his senior year, Gallup is taking advantage of the sport's indoor offering.
"I'm really enjoying it so far," he said.
That goes for Graveley, too, a veteran of the school's track and field program. The junior ran cross country this fall in preparation for track and field, and said he was chomping at the bit to get the new season going.
"It's fantastic. In cross country, all you do is just distance. That's it," he said. "So, when you come to track, you have all these new things to try."
Graveley figures to be the team's top hurdler and a solid option in sprint and mid-distance events. After watching Graveley become one of Section II's top 400-meter hurdlers this past spring, Wilary said he is expecting the Ram to have a big winter.
"David Graveley looks like he is about to explode and go to being a star," Wilary said.
Heading into the season, though, the Rams know they have one bona fide standout in Brown. The junior said that he knows Wilary's plan for him may include competing in some true mid-distance events. Wilary agreed with that assessment, but said nothing is set in stone.
"Hopefully we can get him up to the 600 (meters) this year," said Wilary. "Maybe he can change it up a little bit, go up to the 600 and be the state champion there, too."
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