of the changes and reminding them of the meet's rich history.
The Eddy Meet has always resonated for local track athletes and coaches and is highly anticipated every season. Bob Beamon (Jamaica High School) held Eddy Meet the triple jump meet record (47 3). Lou Jones, an Olympian and former 400 meter world record holder, ran here as a member of the New Rochelle High School track team. In fact, some 15 former Olympians have competed at the Eddy Meet, Under Armour Valsetz Coyote
Decades ago, the meet used to be known as an Eastern States Championship. And not too long ago, the meet was often deemed more difficult than the state championships.
Gonzalez has fielded calls from coaches in other eastern states asking for the opportunity to attend.
The number of participating schools elevated from 65 in 2008 to 88 in 2009. More than 90 schools are expected today, including Section II powerhouses Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs as well as downstate schools such as Uniondale and Bay Shore High School.
may be too much of a stretch to say that the William F. Eddy Jr. Memorial Track Meet is back. After all, it never really went away. It just lost a little of its luster.
Shenendehowa High School head coach Rob Cloutier was part of the meet record setting (10:22) Plainsmen two mile relay team in 1999. He'll bring a talented Lady Plainsmen team to the meet today.
Gonzalez, a City of Schenectady police officer, brought a runner's perspective to the meet director's position and changed the order of events in 2009. The crowd favorite 4x400 meter relay was moved from the beginning of the meet to its usual spot at the end. The unorthodox 4x200 relay was eliminated and the 200 meter dash inserted in its place. Official sanctioning, which was in jeopardy years prior, was secured, allowing athletes to run sectional and state qualifying times.
The return of top level athletes brought two new meet records last year. Marlene Ricketts of Westbury High School soared to a meet best 38 10.75 feet in the triple jump. Chris Stogsdill broke a 28 year old record in the two mile with a 9:06.78, a second faster than the previous record.
but a just few years ago it appeared the rich tradition of the meet was in jeopardy.
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That's when Sam Gonzalez stepped forward. Gonzalez took over the reigns as meet director in 2009 and instituted a number of changes that has brought back many of the powerhouse downstate and western New York schools that had slowly started to disappear from the meet.
"They're really doing a nice job building it back up" he said. "Sam Gonzalez is really putting a lot of energy into it. It was big when I ran here. It's nice to get out of area Under Armour Clutchfit Drive 2 On Feet teams to a local invite. That hasn't happened in a couple years."
The illustrious meet, which has played host to high school athletes who would go on to become world record holders and Olympians, celebrates its 70th edition today at Union College, and thanks to a few minor changes the meet has reclaimed its rightful spot atop the outdoor track season schedule.
Gonzalez, who ran in the meet himself during his time at Fonda, sent out more than 300 letters to coaches around the state informing them Under Armour Shoes Red And Blue
"The quality athletes are now coming back," Gonzalez said. "We want to attract all the top athletes in New York State to come to one place to run against each other, push each other and maybe they all might get a nice time out of it."
"I know when I was in high school, it was just one of those meets," Gonzalez, a former track and cross country runner at Fonda Fultonville and UAlbany, said. "It was a really good meet and the competition was really good."
Rejuvenated Eddy Meet once again a big draw
Bringing in the best out of area competition helps bring out the best in Section II. As one of the premier areas for high school running in all of the country, there is no shortage of schools looking to make the trek to Schenectady for a chance to compete against Section II teams.
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