Running in elite company

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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A week after winning the Class 3A title in the 1600, Decatur’s Taylor Clayton will be competing again this weekend.

The senior state champion will take part in the inaugural Texas Top 40 Mile Saturday in College Station.

Back on Track

BACK ON TRACK – A week after winning the Class 3A title in the 1600, Decatur’s Taylor Clayton will run in the Texas Top 40 Mile Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Clayton will compete against 39 other high school boys on mile-long stretch of Texas Avenue. The Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas will also sponsor a race featuring the top 40 high school female milers.

Clayton is one of three runners from Wise County schools in this weekend’s event. Northwest’s Zach Kirkland and Kellee McCann will also make the trip to College Station.

READY FOR ANOTHER RUN – Northwest’s Zach Kirkland will take part in Saturday’s Texas Top 40 Mile in College Station. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Clayton was a late addition to the field after winning the 3A title last week.

“I was looking forward to the three-week break and then I got a call from Coach [David] Park saying I got in,” Clayton said. “It’s humbling. I won the 3A title and now here I am with the top 40 runners in the state. I’ll have to see if I can do something crazy.”

The Top 40 Mile replaces its predecessor, the Congress Avenue Mile. That race held annually in Austin was canceled last year.

“I never got to run on Congress and not getting to run in College Station, where I’m going to school, I felt like my season was unfinished. I’m glad I made it,” Clayton said.

Kirkland and McCann have both run the Austin event.

Kirkland was 22nd in 2012, clocking a 4:22. Last week at the UIL State Meet in the Class 5A 1600, Kirkland finished eighth in 4:23.62.

“I’m excited. I didn’t race the way I wanted at state,” Kirkland said. “I’ll get another shot at the big guys.”

Kirkland’s 4:14 is the second-best qualifying time.

McCann, who ran Congress as a freshman and sophomore, is looking forward to hitting the road Saturday. The Syracuse signee missed the District 4-5A meet with an injury and an opportunity to run at state for a third time.

“My whole spring was riddled with injuries,” she said. “I’m excited to still get this opportunity.

“I’ve always enjoyed road racing.”

Her 4:59.41 is the ninth best time among qualifying girls.

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