Clayton State junior Kourtney Aylor talks with a runner from Columbus State Thursday at Tara Stadium after they competed in the 1,500-meters. Aylor won the event with a time of four minutes, 57.21 seconds.
By Derrick Mahone
It was a much faster race than Kourtney Aylor is used to running on the Clayton State women's track team.
The junior primary runs the 3,000, but was asked to run 1,500-meters at Thursday's March Madness Tri-Meet hosted by the Lakers.
Aylor navigated through the four-lap race in four minutes, 57.21 seconds for a first place finish.
"I'm use to much longer distance races," said the biology/pre-med major. "Coach put me in it, and said run it, so I ran it. Oh yeah, I think I will be asked to do it again."
Aylor finished runner-up to teammate Chelsea Ellis in the 3,000. Ellis, a junior from Florida, had a time of 10:51.82 while Aylor, a junior from Texas, finished in 11:02 for second.
Last weekend, Aylor placed eighth in the 3,000 at the Emory Classic.
"She ran a great race," said Clayton State coach Mike Mead of Aylor's victory in the 1,500. "The leader got out too fast, but was able to come back. Kourtney was able to hold her off. She is a pretty strong runner."
Mead said Aylor is starting to run with more confidence. He acknowledged that has been balancing a 20-hour course load in addition to running.
"She is real strong academically," Mead said. "She has a tough balancing act, but she is giving it her all. Kourtney has a tough course load."
Prior to attending Clayton State, Aylor ran cross country at Midwestern State. The Wichita Falls, Texas school did not have a track and field program, which led Aylor to transfer.
Mead said that Aylor is real close in making some NCAA Div. II championship cuts.
"We are trying to push all our runners towards the NCAA," Mead said.
Thursday was the first time in school history that Clayton State hosted a meet, which included Columbus State and Tuskegee.
Former Morrow standout Chatil Bradford, who is now competing at Columbus State, made a successful return home. The freshman won the shot put and placed second in the discus.