So many good things have happened to Izaiah Brown on his trips around the track at Larry Mulvaney Field.
Even dangling shoestrings in the midst of Wednesday’s 400-meter run at the Big 10 championship meet couldn’t curtail his winning ways there.
“My shoe came untied in the first 100. I couldn’t run as fast because I was afraid my shoe was going to fall off, and I’d get disqualified,” said the sophomore. “I’d stride and then stutter, stutter, and then stride again.”
Brown won anyway, by well over two seconds, and later anchored Amsterdam’s meet-closing 1,600 relay with another 48-and-change run.
“Good workout,” Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary said afterward. “He told me he was going to take it easy today.”
That won’t be the case Saturday, when Brown returns to Schenectady High School for the 73rd William F. Eddy Jr. Memorial Track and Field Meet. The Schenectady PBA-sponsored event, which draws top talent from all corners of the state, begins at 9 a.m.
“I’m going to be hauling down that track trying for the record. No holding back,” said the 16-year-old. “I’ll probably be laid out after the race. That day, I’m going all out.”
“Just knowing him, he likes to put on a show,” said Wilary. “He’s going for the Eddy record of 47.2.”
The Eddy 400 record of 47.22 run by Roger Hunter of Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn) in 1983 is one of the meet’s oldest standing marks. The Section II 400 record, set by Dave Byrd of Christian Brothers Academy in 1994, is 47.51.
“I never promise. It depends on the weather, and how I feel,” said Brown. “It’s something you can try for, but there are no guarantees. In track, there never are.”
Brown has already turned in a couple of record performances on the Mulvaney Field oval, at the Eddy meet last May and at the Schenectady Invitational earlier this month.
“I do like this track. It’s the best track I’ve run on in our area, and it seems like it’s been a place where people get PRs,” Brown said. “I like the turf. It’s not too old, not too new. It feels just right.”
Brown is hoping everything is just right Saturday when he attempts to defend his 400 Eddy championship. He took more than a second off the freshman state record and turned in Section II’s third-best all-time mark when he prevailed last year in 47.80.
When he won his second straight Schenectady Invitational crown at that distance on May 2, he clocked a 47.81 without much of a challenge.
“That’s a thing I’ll always remember. That’s the moment I realized I can do something great with this talent,” Brown said of his 2012 Eddy meet run. “That’s what I call a milestone for my track career.”
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Brown turned on the juice with 220 meters to go in winning last year’s 400. He won by nearly a second over Tresean Goodwin of Uniondale.
“He always starts off with a stride, and then kicks with what I call hyper speed,” said Wilary. “We’ll probably go at 220 or 230.”
“Maybe even 240,” said Brown. “To do something great, you’ve got to push it.”
Brown set another New York record — for sophomores — when he won the state indoor 300 title in 34.38 at Cornell University. His second varsity outdoor season has included 400 invitational wins at Niskayuna and Johnstown, and a string of 200, high jump and relay victories.
“I was given the ability to run. I could slack off and play video games, or eat chips on the couch, or I could work,” Brown said. “I work for this. I push every day, and I’ve got great teammates who help me.”
LANGE AMONG RETURNEES
Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior Jason Lange will take another shot at his own school record of 9:22.03 when he returns to defend his Eddy 3,200 title. Among those pushing Lange will be his twin brother, Matt, and 2012 runner-up Andrew Tario of Averill Park.
“I’ve been stuck at 9:22 since my sophomore year,” said Jason Lange. “Usually, guys go out hard, but I know what I have to do each lap. I have to follow my plan.”
“It’s in him,” said ND-BG coach Jon Broderick. “He was on a 9:15 pace with three laps to go last week [at the Loucks Games].”
Lange won the 3,200 a year ago in 9:22.07. Tario clocked a 9:28.04.
“I’m just going to run and try to win. I know it’s not going to be easy,” Lange said. “It was tough last year.”
Lange was one of five Section II boys who prevailed in the six individual running events last year.
“It was awesome. It felt so great to get that giant trophy,” said Lange. “I remember in middle school not being fast enough to even qualify. To get it was so cool.”
Schalmont junior Devon Willis won the triple jump last year, covering 46-13⁄4 on his final attempt to take the lead. He went 48-23⁄4 at the Loucks Game, and is a threat in the 110 hurdles.
Seniors James Steck of Shaker and Isaiah Turek of Ichabod Crane are among those to watch in the pole vault and high jump, respectively. Steck is the state indoor and reigning Eddy champion, and
Turek has gone as high as 6-6 1⁄4 this spring.
While last year’s 1,500 champ, Catherine Maloy of Holy Names, will miss the meet due to a family obligation, schoolmate Leah Triller will return after taking the 800 last year. Pole vaulter Kara Snyder of Colonie and high jumper Courtney Avery of Troy also claimed titles last year. Columbia has a dual horizontal jump threat to keep tabs on in Nastasja Johnston and Eva Kiehl, while Zoe Dolittle of Glens Falls has had a superb spring season with the weights.
Maloy won the 1,500 in 4:37.84 to clip Saratoga Springs ace Keelin Hollowood (4:37.98).