Since he moved to South Jersey from Illinois after his sophomore year at Mascoutah High School, we’ve seen some pretty impressive moments from Chris Martin. But he’s been hurt more often than not and you just keep thinking, “If he could ever stay healthy, watch out.”
Martin, now a senior at Northern Burlington, ran 4:18.62 for 1,600 meters as a sophomore in Illinois and won a state title. He got his time down to 4:17.34 last spring, when he placed second to Oakcrest’s Ishmael Muhammad (now at Villanova) in the South Jersey Invitational, and he also took second at the Central Jersey Group 3 sectionals behind Middletown North’s Tom O’Neill (now at Providence) with another sub-4:20 performance. He went onto states in the 3,200, placing eighth.
And that was his last track race until yesterday.
Martin, who was hurt at the end of his career in Illinois, has been hurt more often than not since moving to South Jersey.
But after missing the start of cross country with one injury and sitting out all of indoors with another, he’s healthy now and made his 2015 debut Saturday at the Hall of Fame Relays in Maple Shade.
In cold, windy conditions that weren’t conducive to good performances — not surprising, considering there have been precisely two nice days for the Hall of Fame Relays since 1985 — Martin ran 800 legs on two relay teams for the Greyhounds.
Martin ran a 2:03 and a 2:05 unchallenged, which might not sound super fast for a 4:17 miler but is actually really encouraging considering the conditions, how early in the season it is and that they were Martin’s first track races in 10 1/2 months.
Remember, Martin’s 800 PR is 2:00.39, from last year’s BCSL meet, so to be just three seconds off his PR in the wind and cold running solo in an off event is definitely a good sign.
Northern won the large-school 3,200-meter relay behind Martin, 2014 Liberty Division XC champ Beepul Bharti and Dion Young and Gene Zaleski. Young, a sophomore hurdler, showed a lot of versatility running the 800.
The Greyhounds also took second in the sprint medley behind Moorestown, although they were in different sections, so Martin didn’t get a chance to race against Quaker anchor Harrison Morris.
One interesting note about Martin: His PR for 3,200 meters remains 9:24 from Illinois. His best last spring was a 9:28.11 at states. But based on his 4:17 and his form at Holmdel, where he’s run as fast as 16:20.6, you know he’s capable of going well under 9:20.
Should be a fun senior year for Martin. And hopefully a healthy one!