Tracy Brandt calls her son a miracle baby. And it’s not just because Isaiah can run like the wind, or is getting offers from colleges nationwide to play football.
Isaiah Brandt-Sims, a Wenatchee High sprinter who will compete at the Pasco Invitational on Saturday, was born three months premature, weighing in at 2 pounds, 6 ounces when he was delivered at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Hospital.
“I feel like he is a gift from God,” his mother said. “When I went into labor, I was in for 12 hours — I couldn’t have him; they didn’t think he could make it.
“When he made it through like he did and came out, I knew he was here for a reason.”
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Isaiah is one of the most promising sprinters in the state. He is the two-time Class 4A state champion in the 100 and 200 meters, becoming the first freshman to win both events at the 4A level.
His personal bests in the 100 (10.6 seconds) and 200 (21.24) rank him seventh and fourth, respectively, in state history.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder’s best time in the 100 this season — 10.62 — is the 10th best non-wind aided time in the country.
He also is a star running back for the Panthers’ football team, having been named the CBBN offensive MVP last season. He has received scholarship offers from eight schools for football, including Washington, Arizona State, Utah, Harvard and Yale.
“If he decides to focus on football, he can do great things on the field,” said Scott Devereaux, Wenatchee football coach. “If he decides to focus on track, who knows what the limit is.
“I’ve coached a lot of kids that are really fast — none of them were close to winning state championships in track or even making it. What we thought were fast kids, he just dominates and is on a whole other level.”
He also excels in the classroom. He has a 3.9 grade-point average while taking two advanced placement classes, and scored well enough on the SATs that he was told he would qualify for admission to Stanford University.
While juggling his school duties with sports, he spent the late fall and winter training, which he didn’t do last year and it is already paying off in his times.
He has only run the 100 three times this spring, but nearly set a personal record in his first meet of the season.
“I lifted a ton this offseason,” said Brandt-Sims, who can bench 245 pounds, power clean 270 and squat 365. “I did anything to keep me really explosive.”
He also has been working with the Bothell High track coach, Colan Sewell, who has helped plenty of sprinters over the years.
Brandt-Sims is hoping it all pays off on the track this season.
He is hoping to get below 10.4 in the 100 and 21 seconds in the 200, which would set the state record.
He already holds the freshman and sophomore records for both events, and if he gets to where he wants to be, he will set both junior records as well.
“At state, people were flocking to that area of the stands to watch the 100-meter finals,” said Lisa Johnson, the Wenatchee Valley club track team coach. “The stands weren’t full, but when that 100 final came up, the stands were plum full. You could hear people talking about him.”
Johnson was Brandt-Sims’ first track coach.
Her track club operates through the Hershey’s Track Program, and he joined when he was 8. Even then, she could tell that she had something special on her hands.
“He’s always been either a top 1 or 2 in that program,” Johnson said. “You could really start to see it (in middle school) — that’s when you could tell that this kid is going to break all the records.”
His freshman season, the Pasco Invitational helped earn him recognition statewide.
He came in with the fastest time in the state and won the 100-yard dash. He also took second in the 200, and anchored the team’s 4x100 relay to third.
He followed that up in 2012 by winning the 100 and 4x400, and taking second in the 200 and 4x100.
“You have to go into the race thinking of second place,” said Stuart Gillin, a Walla Walla High sprinter, “because if you start worrying about first, you are going to be reaching and not end up in a good place.
“I think it takes some of the excitement out of it, but at the same time you get an opportunity to race against one of the fastest kids in the nation. Not many kids get to say they did that.”
Brandt-Sims wasn’t formidable when he was born, fitting into the palm of his grandfather’s hand.
His mother remembers her water breaking and the hospital putting her into the Intensive Care Unit for a week, making her lie on her back the entire time because they didn’t know what would happen to her baby.
Brandt was in the first week of her first year of law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane.
When she finally went into labor, she was rushed to surgery for an emergency Caesarean section.
Before the operation, she asked the doctor — who was also a priest — to pray for her baby.
“All the nurses stood around me on the table and he prayed for Isaiah,” said Brandt, a lawyer in Wenatchee. “He is special and not just for sports. He is the kind of person who makes me want to be a better person.”
And while Brandt knew her young son was gifted, she had no idea the heights he would reach — and at such a young age.
“I couldn’t have foreseen this,” she said. “I didn’t know he would win state as a freshman. I think there is a lot more to come.
“It has not been easy, but I know that he has a special calling. I think Isaiah knows that and realizes that. He does everything right. He doesn’t go to parties. He is just a really, really good kid.”
And that is true on the track and off.