Although he didn’t get to complete the entire season, Chapel Hill sophomore Jaylen Slade is considered the best male track and field participant in the state.
Slade was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Georgia Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
He is the first male athlete at the school to be chosen for the prestigious award.
“It is a good thing to be the first boy to win it at Chapel Hill,” Slade said. “There were a lot of people that helped me out a lot in getting this recognition.”
Slade only competed in two races this past spring before the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) shut down spring sports in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the press release announcing Slade as a winner, the award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Slade as Georgia’s best high school boys track and field athlete.
Slade had a time of 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter dash, and he was the reigning Class AAAA 100- and 200-meter champion as a sophomore.
The 6-foot-1, 155-pound sophomore clocked personal-best times in three events during the 2020 indoor season, breaking the tape in the 400-meter dash at the USATF Galleria Games with a time of 47.59 seconds, which ranked as the nation’s No. 2 performance among indoor prep competitors in 2020.
Slade’s Showdown at the Complex victory in the 200 (21.35) ranked No. 5.
Slade is considered the nation’s top recruit for the junior class, according to MileSplit.com, a website dedicated to track and field.
Slade has maintained a weighted GPA of 3.56 in the classroom and volunteers time mentoring middle-school students and helping the homeless.
He said that missing this past season will make him even more motivated for his junior year.
“It was really disappointing not being able to run,” Slade said. “I really missed it. I will definitely be motivated this coming year.”
Although Slade is the first male athlete at Chapel Hill to receive the recognition, he joins to other former student-athletes at the school in player of the year recognition.
Former record-setting hurdler and Olympian Kristi Castlin received the award in addition to former softball standout Ashley Morgan. Morgan is currently a junior at Tennessee.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states in 12 sports.