To suggest that Jayveon Taylor has dominated the 100- and 200-meter sprints the past two years is an understatement. He has owned the sprints.
In the two years that the Bonanza junior has run the 100, he never has been beaten, including two state finals. The last time he was beaten in any race was in 2011, when he placed third at state in the 200.
He corrected that anomaly by winning the 200 at state in 2012 (21.27 seconds), running the fifth-fastest time in state history, less than two-tenths of a second off the record (21.10) set by Garic Wharton of Valley in 2008. Wharton also holds the 100 record (10.39), set in 2009.
“He’s the real deal,” said Bonanza coach Chad Robertus, who has been at the school for 21 years. “He’s the only athlete I’ve ever coached who comes close to being as good as Ronda Williams was. He has a ways to go to match Ronda, but he has two years to do it. He’s special.”
Williams had nine top-three finishes at state, winning five championships for Bonanza’s girls from 1998 to 2001.
“My coaches are telling me this is my year to break the records,” Taylor said. “I want to run 10.2 and get under 21” in the 200.
Robertus believes Taylor can get there.
“He can go under 21,” Robertus said. “In one year he took three-tenths off his times, from 10.8 to 10.5 (in the 100). It’s not unreasonable to assume that. At state in the 200 he broke down just a little at the end and still ran 21.27. I think he can run 20.9. Maturity, experience makes a difference. He’s still only a junior. He has done things in his first two years that no one that I know of has ever done before.”
According to track website athletic.net, Taylor was ranked No. 3 nationally among freshmen and sophomores in the 200 last season.
Taylor is looking ahead to college and is being recruited primarily for his potential as a running back.
“I have gotten letters from lots of schools, including coaches at LSU, Alabama and Mississippi,” Taylor said. “Washington really wants me. UCLA has contacted me, too. My mom wants me to stay close to home so she can watch me.”
Taylor has been a starter on the varsity football team as a running back and defensive back since he was a freshman. He has grown 2 inches and gained 13 pounds since his sophomore football season when he was listed at 5 feet 6 inches and 137 pounds.
It was hard for Taylor to make much of an impact on a team that went 2-7, but he averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 59 rushing attempts and scored three touchdowns in 2012.
But it’s on the track where Taylor really shines.
“He’s been totally committed ever since he first came out as a freshman,” Robertus said. “He comes to practice, listens to advice and follows it. He is very respectful and unassuming. He had a quote in his yearbook last year that said ‘he runs for those who cannot,’ which speaks of his respect for the sport and opponents. He makes a point of complimenting his opponents at the finish line after every race.”
Taylor is quick to deflect praise.
“I’m training harder … trying to stay humble and not get a big head,” he said. “Coach has really helped me, setting me up with colleges and pushing me harder.”
Taylor’s toughest competition at state this year most likely is to come from Donnel Pumphrey. The Canyon Springs senior, the Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year in football, was third at state in the 100 and 200 last season.
ATHLETES TO WATCH
BASIC — Austin Tilley
BISHOP GORMAN — Randall Cunningham, Kyle Kelley
BONANZA — Jayveon Taylor
CANYON SPRINGS — Diamante Luna, Donnel Pumphrey
CENTENNIAL — Jackson Carter
CHAPARRAL — James Bryant
DURANGO — Tyler Watts
ELDORADO — Eddie Esquivel
FOOTHILL — James Henderson
LIBERTY — Martin Ponce, Colin Schultz, Reno Tu’ufuli
MOJAVE — Jalon Dean
PALO VERDE — Stephon Fitzgerald
VALLEY — Arphaxad Carroll
BISHOP GORMAN — Francesca Manz
BONANZA — Sianna Nelson
CANYON SPRINGS — Bridget Payton
CENTENNIAL — Sydney Badger, Tiana Bonds, Katie Gorczyca, Tyler Rowlette, Tamera Williams
CHEYENNE — Jasper Gray
CORONADO — Sara Dort, Shaye’e Swaine
FAITH LUTHERAN — Clarissa Maxey, Cayla Nikodemus
FOOTHILL — Drea Austin, Demi White
GREEN VALLEY — Karli Fisher
LIBERTY — Ashlie Blake
MOAPA VALLEY — Malary Reid
PAHRUMP VALLEY — Sydney Sladek
PALO VERDE — Marissa Suan
RANCHO — Miracle Blalark
SILVERADO — Jasmyn Garcia, Amari Norris
VALLEY — Lanesha Acker