Boys MOC. Elijah Wins 800! 7 Medalists!
Before this season, Union Catholic’s Elijah Brown wasn’t really on many people’s radar when it came to the 800-meter run.
Now, he’s a Meet of Champions winner at that distance.
Just 10 months after the first 800 of his high school career, Brown, a junior at Union Catholic, made a huge surge just before the bell to grab the lead in the 800 at Saturday’s 51st Meet of Champions at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
He was daring someone to catch him, and no one could as Brown hammered his way to victory in 1:53.98, a huge personal best, the second fastest time in the state this season, No.12 in meet history, and a qualifying time for the New Balance Nationals in New York in two weeks.
Miles Liggins of South Brunswick, who had the top time this season off all runners in the race (1:54.67), was second in a NJ#3 1:54.10.
Brown is the second UC runner to win the 800 at the indoor M of C. Allen Eke won it in 2012.
Brown said the race went out fast, so he waited to make his move.
“Miles took it out in 54, and I wasn’t expecting it to go that fast,”’ said Brown, who also anchored the 4×400 to a sixth place finish. “So I just waited until like 200 to go and just went for it with all I had.’ My legs were a little tight going into that last 200, so it was all heart the rest of the way.g.” I had to open up my stride and keep my composure because I knew they were coming.”
Brown, primarily a 400 runner before this season, has come a long way since running his first high school 800 last April at the Blue Devil Classic in Westfield.
“The season I’m having in the 800 is a big shocker because it’s a big transition from the 400,” said Brown. “But I’ve been working really hard at the 800 and my times have kept coming down.”
Brown said he knew the door was open for him to win his first M of C title when defending champion and 2018 New Balance National Outdoor Champion Luis Peralta of Passaic decided to skip the state meets and run more open races.
“When I saw that Luis Peralta wasn’t going to be running the 800 at states, I knew that was my shot at winning,” said Brown. “It made me work even harder to win this. I came into this race with a plan and stuck to it, and it went just the way I was hoping.”