Amsterdam athletes turned in the fastest times to start and close Thursday’s competition on the oval at Larry Mulvaney Field.
Led by Izaiah Brown and gritty John Hardies, the Rams turned in some impressive performances in between, as well, at the annual Schenectady Boys’ Invitational.
“We started strong with the four-by-eight, and finished strong with the four-by-four. That was the plan,” said Hardies, one of Amsterdam’s senior leaders. “We’re all pretty beat up and tired, but it’s a nice feeling.”
Brown set a meet record in the 400 with a 47.81, took the 200, too, and Hardies rallied to win the 800. Amsterdam’s team title effort also included a one one-hundreth of a second victory over the host Patriots in the 400 relay.
“Our team is like a big family,” said Brown, one of Northeast’s premier sophomore runners. “In practice, we work together. At meets, we push each other.”
Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary gave Brown a verbal push when he yelled ‘Go’ midway through the 400.
“I started his kick early. Usually, it’s with 200 left. Today, it was with 220 left,” he said.
“I set the  record at every invitational we’ve been to, and I wanted to do it again,” said Brown. “This one was a little more challenging, and the plan was to take off a little earlier. We did the same thing last year at the Eddy Meet.”
At last year’s Eddy Meet on the same oval, Brown set a state freshman 400 record with a 47.80. That’s also No. 3 on the all-time Section II record list.
“My goal is low 47, close to 46 by the end of the season,” Brown said. “I was born with the ability to run. I want to use it.”
Brown started from lane four Thursday, made up the stagger halfway through and pulled away to break the meet record of 48.2 set by Chris Lolange of Suffern in 2001. Sean Fitzgerald of LaSalle took second (50.80).
“The 400, that was his goal today,” said Wilary. “He goes into every race wanting to do better. He’s very driven.”
“His form is so good,” said Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior Matt Lange, the 1,600 winner. “He just glides through the last 200.”
Hardies’ 800 trip was anything but smooth, though he eventually prevailed in 1:58.85, just ahead of Tyler Angioli of Fonda-Fultonville (1:59.55).
“It was a rough start. I was seeded fourth, but I didn’t get out in fourth. It was a little physical. I was second to last,” Hardies said. “In the second lap, I wanted to break out. With 200 to go, I had a lot of confidence and sprinted to the finish.”
Hardies passed Angioli with about 40 meters to go.
“It was all heart and grit at the end,” he said. “It was mano-a-mano.”
“He got boxed out,” said Wilary. “He ended up running one of the best times in the section.”
Brown won the 200 in 22.18, and anchored Amsterdam’s first-place 1,600 relay (3:33.54) after runs by Hardies, Brett Stanavich and Anthony Stewart. Nick Raponi, Matt Raponi, Stewart and Hardies prevailed in the 3,200 relay (8:13.23), and Ryan Farley, Lucas Dorr, Luis Laboy and Stanavich joined to take the 400 relay (44.33) ahead of Schenectady (44.34).
“We had trouble on a handoff,” said Schenectady senior Malik Murray. “I made up as much ground as I could.”
Amsterdam wrapped up its second straight team championship as darkness began to set in when Laboy and Omahri Sturdivant placed third and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump. The Rams scored 100 points to runner-up Fonda-Fultonville’s 91.
“We haven’t had a meet in a while,” said Wilary. “I’ve got to give credit to [assistant coach] Jaime Julia for having the guys ready.”
In his fifth appearance at Schenectady, Fonda-Fultonville senior Matt Hoffman notched his first invididual win when he ran a 9:59.75 in the 3,200.
“Some guys I was hoping would be there weren’t. I was looking for a push, but still, it was my first sub-10 of the year,” he said. “I can only go down from here. We just recently intensified our training, and we’re looking for some good results.
“I’m pumped to get in some good training.”
Kyle Guiffre earned Fonda-Fultonville’s second win with a 46-7 1⁄4 in the shot put.
Matt Lange won the 1,600 in 4:22.06 after his twin brother, Jason, copped the title last year with a school record 4:21.57. Jason Lange finished third this time.
“He’ll probably get me the next time. We go back and forth,” said Matt Lange. “We both ran the 3,200 at Hudson Falls last weekend. He got third, and I got fourth.”
Matt Lange grabbed the lead with a lap and a half left, was ahead by 10 meters with a lap to go, and then widened the gap for a comfortable triumph over Johnny Knox III of Gloversville (4:26.91).
“I wanted to break 4:20. It was a little too hot, and we went out a little slow. It didn’t happen,” he said. “That was my first real mile [this season], and with 4:22, you’re never going to complain about that, but 4:19 would have been nice.”
Leo Pavoldi of Schalmont won the 100 in 11.11, and schoolmate Devin Willis won the 110 hurdles in 14.94. Ichabod Crane’s Isaiah Turek won the high jump at 6-2, the long jump by soaring 21-4 1⁄2, and the triple jump by covering 44-0. Brown and Laboy placed second in the high jump and long jump, respectively.
Amsterdam 100, Fonda-Fultonville 91, Queensbury 62, Ichabod Crane 59, Averill Park 52, LaSalle 51, Christian Brothers Academy 47, Gloversville 36 1⁄2, Glens Falls 36, Schenectady 31, Schalmont 27, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 24, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 22, Mohonasen 20 1⁄2.
100 — Leo Pavoldi (Schal), 11.11; Elliot Croskey (CBA), 11.36; Malik Murray (Schen), 11.37; 200 — Izaiah Brown (Amst), 22.18; Gabe Smith (LSI), 23.28; Austin Ellis (CBA), 23.52; 400 — Izaiah Brown (Amst), 47.81 (meet record); Sean Fitzgerald (LSI), 50.80; James Avery (CBA), 51.49; 800 — John Hardies (Amst), 1:58.85; Tyler Angioli (FF), 1:59.55; Nick O’Brien (CBA), 2:00.67; 1,600 — Matt Lange (NDBG), 4:22.06; Johnny Knox III (Glove), 4:26.91; Jason Lange (NDBG), 4:31.95; 3,200 — Matt Hoffman (FF), 9:59.75; Josh Foust (AP), 10:06.22; Alex Isabelle (LSI), 10:06.48; 110HH — Devon Willis (Schal), 14.94; Justice Spear (GF), 15.14; Joe Hermey (Q), 15.36; 400IH — Justice Spear (GF), 57.47; Joe Kaiser (IC), 58.38; Matt Rivera (Glove), 59.40; 400 relay — Amsterdam (Ryan Farley, Lucas Dorr, Luis Laboy, Brett Stanavich), 44.33; Schenectady, 44.34; CBA, 45.32; 1,600 relay — Amsterdam (Anthony Stewart, Brett Stanavich, John Hardies, Izaiah Brown), 3:33.54; LaSalle, 3:37.0; Ichabod Crane, 3:42.07; 3,200 relay — Amsterdam (Nick Raponi, Matt Raponi, Anthony Stewart, John hardies), 8:13.23.
Long jump — Isaiah Turek (IC), 21-4 1⁄2; Luis Laboy (Amst), 20-5 1⁄4; Travis Fairlee (BKW), 19-10; High jump — Isaiah Turek (IC), 6-2; Izaiah Brown (Amst), 6-0; Devon Willis (Schal), 6-0; Triple jump — Isaiah Turek (IC), 44-0; Mike Hayes (AP), 42-3 1⁄4 ; Luis Laboy (Amst), 41 1⁄4; Pole vault — Mike Kenny (GF), 12-6; Garrett Camp (Q), 12-6; Drew Ryan (AP), 12-0; Shot put — Kyle Guiffre (FF), 46-7 1⁄4; Jon Rogers (AP), 45-5; Dominick Neri (FF), 43-9; Discus — Dave Slattery (Q), 147-9; Jon Rogers (AP), 142-8; Tyler Hancock (Q), 120-0.