SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After a huge junior year that was highlighted by winning a State Meet of Champions title and running several fast times, there were huge expectations for Elijah Brown this season.
And the senior at Union Catholic has combined his big heart and big motor to more than live up to the hype, delivering several eye-popping performances to help the Vikings maintain its status as one of the top teams in the state.
At the Union County Relays on Jan. 5 at the Jersey City Armory, Brown ran on three winning relays to lead the Vikings to its second straight title and eighth title in the past 10 years.
Brown, who won 800 at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last winter, split 50.8 on the 4x400, 2:01.5 in the 4x800, and 1:59.7 in the distance medley relay
At the Stanner Games on Jan. 11 at the N.Y. Armory, Brown, who has been chosen as Union Catholic's Male Union County Conference Athlete of the Week, won the 600 in 1:21.11, the No. 2 time run in N.J. and No. 5 in the nation this season.
Then at the State Non-Public A Relays on Jan. 20 at the Bennett Center in Toms River, Brown blasted a 1:55.4 800 leg to come from way back to give UC the lead for good in the distance medley relay as UC finished first in 10:34.19, the fourth fastest time in the state this season.
In Brown's latest meet, he won the 800 in 1:56.26, the third fastest time in the state this season, at the Bullis Invitational at the N.Y. Armory.
The George Mason-bound Brown has some big goals for this season and for the spring.
"My biggest goals are running 1:51 open in the 800, 1:18 or 1:1919 in the 600, winning the Meet of Champs title again, and winning a national champion in a relay or an open race,'' said Brown, who will be back in action at the NJCTC Championships this Sunday "For outdoors, running 1:50 open, winning a M of C title, winning at the Arcadia Invitational, making a Penn Relays final, and winning a national championship.''
Union Catholic head track and field coach Mike McCabe said Brown's work ethic and attitude have made him a joy to coach.
"Elijah has been a pleasure to coach for the last three and a half years,'' said Coach McCabe "His love of the sport, commitment to his teammates and positive mindset have made him unlike any athlete I have coached in my career. Elijah's love for competition is what sets him apart from his peers.''
Brown showed at an early age that he had the potential to be a big star on the track.
"I realized that I could be really good in this sport when I ran 2:10 (for 800) in sixth grade and 54 seconds (for 400) in seventh grade,'' said Brown, whose greatest strength is his heart and determination to win and stay patient for the right time to make his big move to win.
Brown's big breakthrough on the high school level came in spring of 2017 when he ran 49.09 in the 400 to win the Union County outdoor title. That time is freshman school record and one of the fastest times ever run by a freshman in state history.
Brown said Coach McCabe is a big reason for his success, and he feels blessed to be part of the one of the best track and field programs in the state.
"Coach McCabe has helped me in so many ways,'' said Brown. "He's such an amazing coach and person that it feels like he's family,'' said Brown. "I think the best part about being part of one of the top track programs in the state is the bond we have as a unit and the determination to be successful.''