I graduated from Iona Prep in New Rochelle in 1974. Matt Centrowitz graduated from Power Memorial, on the West Side of Manhattan, in 1973. Iona and Power were both Catholic schools and thus were members of the CHSAA, Catholic High School Athletic Association, a very competitive NYC-area conference. He did the one and two mile and I did the 440 and 880 so I never raced against him on the track (not that I would have had a chance).

Centrowitz was the top local runner in his class and was an animal. Once at the Armory — not the Mondo-equipped Armory of today but the one where the “track” was a line painted on a wooden floor otherwise occupied by jeeps — while Iona was working out, so was Power. I’ll always remember watching Centrowitz running with an awesome power and rhythm.

He carried his arms relatively low and, as I say, with incredible rhythm. And he was a “big” runner. He looked as though were he to run into a wall, the wall would give. Now I’m a “big” runner. I’ve always taken comfort in the notion that a big guy can run fast.

Here are a couple of videos someone posted on LetsRun of Centrowitz racing Alberto Salazar, from the Prefontaine Classic in 1982. Centrowitz is the guy in dark shorts and a white shirt. It’s in 2 parts
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