The Paper photo by Lori Poteet 
Brooks Long is The Paper’s 2016 Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year
The Paper photo by Lori Poteet
Brooks Long is The Paper’s 2016 Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Brooks Long awarded The Paper’s Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Two shoes could be seen flying around the Robert C. Haugh track at the IHSAA State Track & Field meet on June 4. They bore the signature of the runner: Brooks.

Mountie Brooks Long sported the brand with his name – the Brooks Running Mach 17s – on his way to a 10th place finish and his second Athlete of the Year award this year. He was named The Paper’s Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year and is now The Paper’s Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year as well.

A few things happened when Long’s Mach 17s crossed the finish line.

One – Long became the 10th fastest runner in the 1600 meter run in the State of Indiana, one place away from scoring.

Two – He set a personal record in the mile at 4:18.5.

Three – He got a few seconds closer to his ultimate goal of breaking the school record.

Long was seeded 10th at the start of the race with a few goals in mind.

“The first lap, I knew I had to get out fast because if I don’t get out fast, I get boxed in,” Long recalled.

He raced ahead with only three runners in front of him. His next goal was to find runners at his pace.

“After the first lap, I found the people who would be running about my time and I tried to stay with them,” he said.

Due to a finish line mishap at the end, Long slipped out of a podium position.

“I was mad at myself for making that stupid of a mistake but I still placed well,” he reminisced. “That’s what I was seeded and that’s what I told myself I wanted to get at least.”

Long was still able to post his PR which exceeded his 4:20 goal for this year. He broke this goal at Regionals and still has a year to go for new records.

“Brooks is a competitor,” Mountie track & field head coach Desson Hannum said. “He wants to do well and succeed. He ran well all season and ran a great race at State. It’s just unfortunate that he was just out of medaling there.”

Hannum added that Long has had plenty of experience in pressure situations.

“With all the meets that he’s been in and success that he’s had, it allows him to be in those pressure situations,” Hannum said. “This experience allows him to come through in situations like State.”

A State medal and the school record are within Long’s sights for next season. He is five seconds away from the school record which was last set by Lindsay Carlile in 1976. Carlile ran the mile in four minutes and 13 seconds. That’s a little over one minute per lap.

“He deserves to be at the top right there with Carlile,” Track & field assistant coach Marvin Walters said. Walters is the distance and pole vault coach for Southmont. He knew Carlile and what he gave to track & field.

“I know how hard he worked and Brooks is putting that kind of effort into it,” Walters stated.

“Brooks was a sponge,” he continued. “He tried different things throughout the season and was always willing to do whatever it took.”

Starting his freshman season, Long ran the 3200 and didn’t even compete in the 1600 until his sophomore year. Then in his junior year, he dropped the 3200 and focused on the 800 and 1600 races.

Walters made the decision when Long ran an 800 meter split time under two minutes. And Long was willing.

“The 32 I find a bit boring with the eight laps,” Long said. “I just enjoy racing the 1600. Everything clicks perfectly.”

He first ran the mile in fifth grade but didn’t start enjoying the race until his sophomore year when he broke five minutes. From then, he has been consistently at the front of the pack. This year, he finished second at the Montgomery County meet and was Sagamore Athletic Conference and Sectional champion in the 1600.

“He’s self-motivated,” Hannum said. “You look at all the athletes that get to the pinnacle of their sports and they’re all self-motivated individuals. When they get to that point, you’re not coaching effort, you’re not coaching attitude or anything like that, they have those things and they want to succeed.”

Long said he is running about 35 miles a week and will head into his senior year with some big achievements already under his belt and even bigger ones awaiting him. Of course, sporting his Brooks Running shoes.