AUBURN — Russell Allen says he doesn’t feel like he’s “super essential” to the Edward Little boys’ indoor track team.

The results respectfully disagree.

As the Red Eddies have been near the top of the standings in each of their KVAC meets this season — finishing either first or second — Allen has been doing the same. Only a sophomore, Allen has been essential in Edward Little’s success.

It’s not just that Allen has been successful — he’s scoring a lot of points in multiple events.

Through four regular-season meets, Allen has wins in the 800-meter and 1-mile runs, runner-up finishes in the 800, mile and 400-meter dash, and has been on winning 4×200 and 4×800 relays.

“If I know that the team needs points in a certain area, I’m willing to go and do that,” said Allen, who ran the mile and 400 within an estimated 10 minutes of each other during a recent meet.

“It’s great to certainly have a lot of versatile athletes,” EL coach Dan Pontbriand said. “It’s good to have people who are willing to do a lot of different things. That’s why we always try to push kids.

“Most of our scorers are people who are doing multiple events.”

Allen came to EL as a sprinter and a jumper, but said a hip problem forced him away from events that required “explosiveness.” He instead focused on the 800 and mile — events that didn’t require top speed.

When his hip got better, Allen added in the 400, and even was part of the 4×100-meter relay this past outdoor season.

The 800 has become his favorite — and best — event, and is the basis for most of his training.

“It’s a lot of training for each event,” Allen said. “Since I’m training mostly for the 800, it doesn’t take a whole lot out of me to kind of go down to a 400, or go up to a mile. The training I’m doing kind of helps with me doing anywhere between 400 and a mile.”

He added that the 800 might the most grueling of his events as well.

“The 800 is one of those events where it’s really tough,” Allen said. “With the 400, you’re trying to full sprint the entire thing. Where as like with the mile, it’s a lot more endurance. But like 800 sits right in the middle, where you got to have the speed for it, you got to have the endurance for it.”

While the 800 might be Allen’s top event, Pontbriand said he’s seen the most growth out of his sophomore in the mile.

“Russell has great natural speed, which certainly helped him in the 400, 800 in the past,” Pontbriand said. “But I think his endurance is really coming along, and when you put those two together he’s a dangerous package there.”

Allen runs cross country during the fall season, so running the longer distance is something he’s comfortable with. He even said he’s recently taken a liking to the mile — something not normally heard from someone who at time fancied himself a sprinter.

Speaking of the sprints, Allen hinted that he might try the 200-meter dash — just another “branch out” for one of Pontbriand’s athletes.

“Will he match up against natural sprinters? We’ll have to wait and see,” Pontbriand said. “Certainly I think he could. He could certainly place, because he has the great natural speed. But who knows. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Allen has set lofty goals in his events, from a personal standpoint. He’d like to lower his mile time to under 4:40 (his best is 4:43.03), and get below 54 seconds in the 400 (currently at 55.24 seconds), but not surprisingly has set his most ambitious goal in the 800.

“Breaking two (minutes) is definitely a high goal that I’ve set,” said Allen, whose best time is 2:05.50. “But it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to doing in outdoor maybe.”

In addition to setting new personal marks, Allen is hoping to help lead the Red Eddies to postseason success at the KVAC and Class A state championships. Pontbriand said Allen’s agenda of events at the KVACs will be geared toward what helps the team the most. States, on the other hand, will be about maximizing Allen’s own success.

“The thing with states, is the major thing on my mind about that is which events I’m going to choose to run,” Allen said. “If I’m trying to be successful in all of them, it won’t really happen.”

Allen said his success leading to team success has motivated him a lot. That motivation should continue this season, and according to Pontbriand, should only increase more as Allen continues his still young high school track career.

“He’s got two more years of high school. He’s in great physical condition right now,” Pontbriand said. “He’s a KVAC-level athlete and state meet athlete right now, as a sophomore. Two more years, he could be state championship-level athlete, New Englands.”

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