The World of High School Track and Field is an ever changing landscape. Just when we think we've seen the greatest ever, someone comes along a few years later, and raises the bar. New York State, despite it's location in the snow belt, has long been known to produce some of the top 400m talent in the country. Indoors, that journey starts with the 300m dash, a training distance for the real thing outdoors. And just three years ago, we thought we saw the cream of the crop come through NY.
Chief among them was an upstate stalwart, Izaiah Brown (Amsterdam, '15). His name would be on a very short list for the greatest relay legs of all-time, with many memorable moments capped off with an incredible 45.16 anchor leg his senior year, around traffic. As you would expect, he was no slouch in the open events, setting the Sophomore State Record in the 300m in his time in the prep ranks Indoors. Even more impressive, that mark was set at Cornell, largely considered one of the hardest tracks for the 300m in the State. Brown had broken a mark that had stood since 1999 to get the record, and many thought it would stand for quite awhile. But just five years later, and the record is in extreme jeopardy.
Enter Tahje Flemmings (Benjamin Banneker), who already owns the Freshman State Record in the event, set last year at the PSAL Frosh/Soph Games in 34.69. Flemmings is now chasing Brown's 34.38, and has taken two strong shots at it already. Clocking 34.54 at the PSAL Night Of Sprints, and then a 34.58 at the Molloy Stanner Games, Flemmings is knocking on that door pretty quickly. After losing part of his Freshman year to injury, Flemmings is in tune for a sophomore season that is aiming for the record books.
Up first, however, will be the rarely run 500m Dash. Entered in the Invitational Section of the event at this weekend's New Balance Games, Flemmings is no stranger to the event. He took a stab at the Freshman Record in that event last year, coming up a second short of the 1:08.74 record from 1989. Now a year older, and the record jumps to 1:06.52, again from way back in 1989. After his outing this week, expect the focus to return to that 300m. Currently PSAL #2, NY #3, and US #8 in the event, there is still plenty of upside to the rest of the season.