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North Lawndale senior Imani Payton pulls away from the pack in the 110-meter hurdles. | Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times Media.
Imani Payton’s case for being one of the greatest hurdlers in Public League history got better on Saturday.
The North Lawndale senior swept his specialties for the third season in a row and broke his own meet record in the 300-meter race during the Public League meet at Hanson Stadium.
For good measure, he anchored the Phoenix to another meet record in the 400 relay.
Payton gave credit to his rivals afterward.
“Every year the competition gets better,” he said. “And that’s what forced me to get these good times.”
Payton won the 110 hurdles in 14.56 seconds and went 38.55 in the 300s, beating his old record by 62-hundredths of a second.
“I wanted to go 37-mid, but 38’s good,” he said.
The boys sectionals are almost two weeks away and state’s another week after that, so Payton has time to shave a little off those numbers.
“Right now, in the 110s, I most definitely feel like I’m there,” he said. “But the 300 hurdles, I still want to get that high-36 range.”
The 400 relay is a recent addition to his list of events and it seems to be a good fit. Terry McGee, Tommy Jackson, Dalon Moore and Payton ran 42.06, breaking Kenwood’s 28-year-old record by .14.
An even older meet record fell in the 800 relay when Phillips’ quartet of Brandon Lane, Michael Morgan, Trumain Moorer and Dewayne Collins ran a 1:28.97. That beat the mark of 1:29.0 set by Marshall in 1967.
“We’ve been working hard to get to this point,” Lane said. “The real goal is to go Downstate and win the gold. It’s great running these times right now, but we’ve got to compete come May 30 and May 31st [at state].”
Dunbar’s Demoria Harris swept the 100 (10.91) and 200 (21.79), edging out McGee (10.94, 22.03) in both races.
“It was all right,” Harris said of his narrow 100 win. “My start wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but I pulled through.”
Lane defended its team title, 88-73 over runner-up Morgan Park. Dunbar (69), North Lawndale (66) and Mather (50) rounded out the top five.
The Indians had wins from David Schmieg in the 800 (1:55.75) and Pavlo Hutsalyuk in the 1,600 (4:21.42). “This is a good meet to get a good time, especially in the ,” Schmieg said. “Just build up that confidence, keep moving forward.”
The meet’s other double winner was Steinmetz’s Anthony Kowalczyk, who went 51 feet, 6 inches in the shot put and 131-7 in the discus.
Other individuals taking first were Morgan Park’s Brandon Riley in the 400 (49.34), Jones’ Peter Schaible in the 2-mile (9:42.08), Dunbar high jumper Carzelle Elicke (6-2), Simeon long jumper Matt Fleming (23-4.75) and Morgan Park freshman triple jumper Greg Howell (42-10.75).
Riley also ran on Morgan Park’s winning mile relay team (3:26.98) and Jones took the 2-mile relay in 8:14.70.