One more title before Cummings’ Paylor sprints away to collegiate football

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

A day of agitation, speed, and reflection came for Jonathan Paylor of Cummings in the Class 2-A track and field state championships.

When it was done, he had another state title and was ready to move on.

“I’m excited,” Paylor said as the long meet drew to close Friday at North Carolina A&T’s stadium. “I’m ready to go to (North Carolina) State and play some (foot)ball.”

It was the final high school competition in a decorated career of the highly-recruited football standout who made a habit of winning in big-time track meets as well.

He began competing in the morning in the 100-dash preliminaries and finished at night – a competition that involved a weather delay that prolonged his high school track career.

Amid it all came third place in the 100 meters, a championship in the 400, and fourth place in the 200.

Paylor had won all three sprints as a sophomore and really wanted to get back to that. But the pair of Correy McManus and Ja’Neil Harris of team champion High Point Andrews interfered again.

The 100 was the first of the sprint finals. Paylor burst out of the blocks, later describing it as a great start.

“I ran out of gas a little,” he said.

That was the high-profile race that he coveted most. McManus sprinted the 100 in 10.72, with Harris at 10.75 and Paylor at 10.95.

“Those boys were cooking,” Cummings coach Donnie Davis said of the High Point Andrews duo.

By the time the 400 arrived on the schedule, Paylor was still processing the earlier result.

Paylor cruised to a time of 47.98 in the 400, shaving almost a half-second off last year’s time. Northeastern’s Dwan Bell was second at 48.84.

There was no celebration after winning the 400 for the third year in a row. He walked off the track in a matter-of-fact manner.

“I had a little anger built up,” Paylor said. “I didn’t even look back. I ran a 47 (sub-48), so I’m good. Might as well go out with a bang.”

For his last race, Paylor was in the unusual position in Lane 1 for the 200 on a wet track. Normally he’s assigned one of the middle lanes as a high seed, but he entered the pecking order in a different spot.

“That’s the first time,” he said. “I’ve never been in the curve before.”

He had another tremendous start and was in the second spot as he came out of the turn.

“I guess that curve ate me alive,” he said with a full grin.

Paylor’s fourth-place time was 22.21. Harris won in 21.12, followed by McManus (22.06) and Brevard’s Elijah Griffin (22.13).

So for Paylor, he was done. Off the track, there was a hug with teammate Bramond McRae. He made his way behind the stands, greeted along the way by others who had seen him shine so often in state competition and are likely curious about what he’ll accomplish next on football fields.

It was all good, he insisted.

“I came to a spot where I’ve got to understand what this is with high school track,” he said. “I had my fun. Two years ago, I won MVP. I won three events in a row. I had my fun.”


Other results …

Southeast Alamance sophomore Augustine Koroma was sixth in the 100 in 11.21 and seventh in the 200 in 22.45. Koroma won the first flight of the 200 with a good enough time to move into the top eight.

“This is the biggest stage of my life,” Koroma said. “Competing with guys who have done great things before. I’m proud to do this.”

McRae took 14th in the 200 in 23.15 and Southeast’s Marquis Burnett was next at 23.66.

“Based on the weather and the slippery (surface), that was the best race I ran,” Koroma said.

Southeast’s Youssef Mostafa was ninth in the 800 in 2:02.43. Southeast’s 1,600 relay placed seventh in 3:31.41.

In the discus, Kavon Poteat of Cummings was 14th (95-10).

Jack Anstrom of Mid-Carolina Conference member Seaforth won the 3,200 and 1,600, and Will Cuichi was first in the 800.