Wenatchee, Wash., is an unlikely home for one of the nation's elite multi-sport high school athletes.
A hub for apple, cherry and pear growers, Wenatchee is 150 miles east of Seattle and a bit isolated. It's not quite the middle of nowhere, but aside from summer wildfires or record fruit harvests, not much news emanates from the city of roughly 35,000 residents.
Maybe that's why it's taken a little longer for people to take notice of Wenatchee (Wash.)
rising athletic star Isaiah Brandt-Sims
In June, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound speedster gave a verbal commitment to the Stanford football program. Brandt-Sims put plenty of good film together for the Cardinal staff during the second half of his junior year, where he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards during a dominant five-game stretch.
Yet he is even more accomplished on the track, where he will attempt to become the first sprinter in Washington history to win the 100 and 200 meters four straight years – and he's doing it in the state's largest classification (4A).
Wenatchee isn't the only unlikely aspect of Brandt-Sims' story. He was born premature and entered the world at just 2 pounds, 6 ounces.
"I think about that all the time," said Isaiah's mom, Tracy Brandt. "He was such a small preemie and we are really grateful that he has been able to have so much success. We definitely never forget where he came from."
Tracy is a story in her own right, a single mom of two (along with Isaiah's younger brother Christian) who worked her way through law school at Gonzaga University and now practices with two brothers locally in the Brandt Law Firm, specializing in family law, criminal defense and personal injury.See the special Isaiah Brandt-Sims photo gallery
This time next year, Tracy will be sending her oldest off to one of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions.
"She means the world to me," Brandt-Sims said of his mom. "She has helped me with everything in my life and put me on a track for success in everything I do. She pretty much introduced me to all the sports I've played and pushed me along and wouldn't allow me to fail."
Through his success, Wenatchee has served as insulation from the trappings of being a teenage athletic phenom. Media coverage of his exploits has been limited. He doesn't make announcements or attempt to "build his brand" via social media. He's well-known and admired locally, but it's a healthy level of attention.
"He's pretty quiet and shy and likes his comfort zone of being in a small town," Tracy said. "He's not real showy or mouthy, he just kind of does what he does."
"It helps keeps me humble," Brandt-Sims said of his hometown. "I get some attention around here but it's not like you are a god or anything."
Brandt-Sims hasn't shied away from competing outside of central Washington, hitting the football camp and combine circuit and training regularly with former Washington State University basketball-football star Mike Bush. He's also attended major track meets in Oregon and the Puget Sound. The prestigious Arcadia Inviational in California is on the wish list for next spring.See all the Reebok Dynamic Athletes
"I realized pretty early that I needed to take him out of Wenatchee," Tracy said. "It was important for him to see who he is competing with for a scholarship and where the competition is. Not that we don't have talent here, but it's a bigger pool when you go to the west side of the state and other places."