By TIM GAYLE
In her final high school event for St. James, Mallie Taylor competed in her second heptathlon over the weekend and broke the 15-year-old school record set by Melissa Myer.
Taylor, an incoming freshman on a basketball scholarship at Birmingham Southern, saved her best high school event for her last, despite having never competed in any track event before five months ago.
The heptathlon, considered one of the most grueling events for any student-athlete, features the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, the shot put and the 200-meter run on the first day of competition, followed by the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run on the second day.
Taylor competed in her second-ever heptathlon on Friday and Saturday in Jacksonville, braving the stifling heat with a performance for the ages. In her first event, she set a personal record with a time of 20.62 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, earning her 253 points toward her heptathlon total.
She had 14.6 meters in the high jump, just missing her personal best, added another personal record with a 7.10-meter score in the shot put and completed the first day of competition with the 200-meter run in 29.34 seconds.
She finished the day with 1,700 points but 375 points behind the pace established by Myer in 2004.
She fell even farther behind Myer’s pace in the opening event of the second day of competition, a 4.27-meter performance in the long jump, but would save her best for the final two events.
Taylor barely missed a 100-foot throw in the javelin, recording a personal record of 30.17 meters, adding 480 points to her collective total. She entered the final event, the 800-meter run, knowing she needed a time of 2:50 or better to break the record.
Taylor crossed the finish line in 2:49.56, earning 468 points for a collective total of 3,019 points, edging Myer by seven points.