CHATHAM, NJ - The goal for any track runner is to set a personal record in each race. Chatham High senior Jaylen Haye produced a rare triple last weekend, setting PRs in the 100, 200 and 400 at the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 track meet held at Madison High.
Haye earned three medals, setting personal record times in placing fourth in the 400 in 50.68; fifth in the 100 in 11.26 and fifth in the 200 in 22.81. He also anchored Chatham's 4x100 relay team, which posted its best time of the season at 45.44. All three individual times qualified him for the Group 3 state meet set for this weekend at Northern Burlington.
"The combination of 1-2-4, there aren't too many sprint types who would do all three of them, and place in all three of them," Chatham track coach Patrick Barry said. "Sometimes you get a 100, 200 double or a 400, 200 double. It's rare to do a 1-2-4, especially at a state sectional."
Jaylen Haye is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.
Haye had given up running the 400 intermediate hurdles a few weeks back because of the strain it put on his hamstring. But the season-long training in the hurdles had a side benefit for Haye when it came to the sprint events.
"He had been training so hard for the 400 intermediate hurdles, that made him strong for the other races," Barry said. "He certainly has the endurance because of that. The intermediate hurdles is one of the toughest races on the track. Without hurdles, he could run sprints without hurting. One door was sort of half shut and he just opened another door and went at it full throttle."
Setting aside the hurdles also allowed Haye to concentrate on improving his form and starts out of the blocks. His parents, Lydia and Herbourne, were both track performers in their day and have accumulated videos of practically every race he's run in high school.
"Looking at the videos, I've been noticing that my form could have been better, by getting my knees up higher and getting out of the blocks stronger," Haye said. "Block starts can decide a race. I've been working on putting more power into my first few steps out of the blocks. I've been trying to focus on the specifics of sprinting and mesh them all together. And it's starting to improve my actual times."
To give some perspective on how quickly Haye has improved his sprint times, it should be noted that he came into the 100 seeded 17th and placed fifth.
The 100 race took place much closer to the 400 than he thought it was going to be, so Haye believes he'll be much more rested at the Group 3 meet when the 400 is run. Because of that, he's set a goal of clocking 49 seconds.
"I'm trying to reach my goals and run my best," Haye said. "At least I'm going out in my senior year knowing that I ran my best."
Haye, who will continue running at The College of New Jersey next year, has been a key contributor to a number of school-record setting relay teams for Chatham.
"I've always been willing to run in a relay to help the team," Haye said.
He's been part of the relay teams that set school marks in the outdoor 4x400, the indoor and outdoor 4x200, and the outdoor 4x100 team.
"The most important thing I've seen in him that speaks to his character is that he was focusing on the hurdles and it really wasn't going well for him," Collin Frost, Chatham assistant track coach, said. "He realized that he had to cut his losses and was able to completely shift his focus and PRs all around. I'm very impressed with how much he's developed. He's been a great team leader."
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