Brown is state high jump runner-up

It was a day many feared would never come for Tremayne Brown.

Not only did the Anderson senior defy the odds by reaching the boys' state track-and-field finals, he turned it into an historical occasion that will not soon be forgotten.

After missing his junior season with a broken leg, Brown returned to the Robert Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University on Saturday, where he placed eighth as a sophomore in the high jump.

Chasing a far higher finish this time around, Brown cleared height after height, outlasted the competition and soared to a school record of 6-foot-9 to claim the runner-up position, one inch behind champion -- and 2023 runner-up --  Elliot Ryba from Greenfield-Central.

“I was very excited for anything above eighth place,” Brown said. “I was happy for (Ryba) too, but I was just really proud of myself.”

Always confident in himself, even Brown had a difficult time foreseeing a return to Bloomington after a year away.

Occupying the second-highest level on the awards' podium was an even bigger shock, although being that close to the top spot could create a touch of longing.

“It was beyond my imagination,” Brown said. “I don’t know how to explain. There was a hint of disappointment, but overall I was happy.”

Saturday’s weather wreaked havoc across the state’s softball and baseball schedule and did not spare the track finals, forcing most of the field event competition to an indoor facility.

That was fine with Brown.

“At first I was upset. I really wanted to go outside,” he said. “But I saw that rain coming down, so I’m glad they moved us indoors. I don’t think it was an advantage, but I think it helped everyone. Plus, there were puddles everywhere, and that would not have been safe.”

Brown established himself early, clearing each height on his first attempt. Even when the bar reached 6-8, he soared over cleanly to establish a personal best and break his own AHS school mark of 6-7 he established earlier this season.

While many competitors passed on heights, Brown did not. He took a go each time the bar was raised, partially to keep his legs warm but also with an eye on the rankings as other athletes dropped out.

“If it was a regular meet, I would have passed on a few,” Brown said. “I was thinking about placing.”

The strategy paid off after the competition was narrowed to three — Brown, Ryba and Warsaw sophomore Jordan Randall. The top seed entering the meet, Randall passed on 6-9 while Brown cleared it — again on his first attempt — so when both failed at 6-10, the tiebreaker went to Brown.

In the end, Brown had the runner-up medal and a school record as memories of his final competition representing the Indians.

“That’s amazing,” he said. “I wanted to make it just a little harder for the next guy.”