CHATHAM, NJ - Avery Brown plans on studying the heart and becoming a cardiologist someday. The Chatham High junior learned something about his own heart last weekend during the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 boys winter track sectional.

Brown was running the anchor leg for Chatham's 4x400 relay team when he got hit in the elbow by a competitor and dropped the baton. He made a quick U-turn, picked up the baton and still ran a 55-second 400 to earn Chatham third place in the race with a team time of 3:36.1.

"He saved us because he didn't quit," Chatham track coach Patrick Barry said. "He learned something about himself this week, that he can be tough in a real dire situation. Because if we didn't place, we wouldn't be able to run this week in the Group 3 meet. That saved our relay team."

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In addition to his contribution on the Cougar 4x400 team, Brown clocked 50.45 in easily winning the state North 2, Group 3 sectional 400 title. Chatham finished second as a team in the state sectional.

Avery Brown is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.

"That was the opening event and our group is the first group," Barry said of the 400 race. "He just dominated. He won the race by two seconds."

Brown showed signs of his running talents last winter and spring. But his spring season was cut short with a hip injury. The 6-3, 175-pound athlete trained at Parisi Speed School in the fall and came into winter track season faster and stronger.

"He grew in many ways," Barry said. "Mentally, as was proved by his recovery in the relay, and physically stronger. Credit to his father. He trains him very well. He's very knowledgeable." 

Brown's father, Wayne, has experience as a track coach at Queen of Peace, Montclair Kimberley and Rutgers Newark. So, when he's not getting his training from Barry, he has his own personal coach at home.

"Whenever he thinks of something that can help me improve, he tells me," the 16-year-old Brown said of his father. "He's always telling me ways I can get better."

A high honor roll student at CHS, Brown has used the advice from his coaches well. So far, he holds the unofficial school record in the 200 meters with a time of 22.58. He's also part of two indoor relay Chatham school records in the 4x200 and 4x400. His best indoor 400 time is 49.94.

So far, his fastest outdoor 400 time is 50.6.

"I like the idea that track can help get me into college," Brown said. "I'm either studying or working on track. Last year, I realized that track can help get me into a good school. That's my goal, to make something of myself."

Brown used to run the 800, but now he's settled on the faster races like the 400 and the 200.

"I'm really tall, so it's hard for me to move my legs really fast enough to run the 100," Brown said. "I'd rather run the 400. You go out fast and maintain your speed and for the last 150 to 100 meters, sprint as hard as you can. I try to pick it up at the end."

Editor's note: The Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week is sponsored by the John Hawk Agency. John and his team have been protecting local families and business owners for over 12 years. Call them at  973-635-9494 for a new auto, home, life and business insurance quote this week and if you mention the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week they will make a $20 contribution to the Chatham Booster Club! To learn more, visit the agency website