Their promise was evident two years ago, when Max Robinson and Mac Gager were part of a group of sophomore track stars that broke every ninth and tenth grade record in the Rye books.
That potential was realized in early March, as Robinson and Gager raced in the New York State championships at Cornell College in Ithaca. Robinson placed 13th of 32 in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:43.91, and Gager clocked in at 1:27.45 for 26th place in the 600-meter run. The seniors each ran just off personal bests in their first appearances at the elite event.
“My two goals for the season were to break the school record for the 600 and to earn my way to States,” said Gager, who toppled the 24-year-old 600 mark in February. “It was an honor to be there. I wasn’t surprised that I made it, but kind of in awe. I was so excited when it was time for my race, and it was such a great feeling to participate.”
While Robinson has made States three times in cross-country, injuries derailed his winter and spring track seasons as a junior.
“Missing the chance to even attempt reaching States gave me that much more fire for this year,” said Robinson, who has been running since elementary school. “Making States was all I wanted. It was my top goal.”
Boys’ Track head coach Jim Yedowitz can’t help but gush when talking about his senior class. Along with stalwarts like Matt Kao, Dan Forsman, Jon Slack, Mason Curtis and Chris Fumasoli, Gager and Robinson are running out the final leg of their Garnet track careers.
“I’m looking forward to the spring with much anticipation for achieving great things, but a bit of sadness comes with each meet knowing that this talented senior class will be graduating in June,” said Yedowitz.
Robinson and Gager are what Yedowitz refers to as “quiet leaders”. They are well respected and push the younger Garnets to try harder each day. Both seniors strive to set personal and team records, but balance their performances with what is best for the team. For example, instead of saving energy for one of their specialty races, Gager and Robinson are willing to run multiple events to score points for the Rye team effort.
Gager, who owns 10 Rye records in individual and relay events, plans on continuing his athletic career in college. He was recently accepted to MIT, but has yet to make an official decision. For now he hopes to help Rye win the Class B championship and – individually – race past Rye’s best marks in the 400- and 800-meter runs.
Robinson, too, has not finalized his decision on which college to attend, but there is no doubt he’ll keep running. In the meantime, the senior – already the owner of three Rye records – will attempt to blaze his way onto Rye’s “Top Ten All-Time List” by lowering his time in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. “I want to leave my name in the record books.”
Don’t bet against Max or Mac.