Athletes of the Week: Brylan Slay, Daryth Gayles

<div style="background: url(; width: 100%; height: 100px"> <h1 style="color: #fff; line-height: 100px; text-align: center; font-size: 42px; text-shadow: 2px 2px 4px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8);"> Florida Athletes of the Week</h1> </div>

WEEK ONE: FEBRUARY 11-17, 2013

GIRLS WINNER: Daryth Gayles - Junior @ Holy Trintiy

Daryth Gayles doesn't take a break between track seasons. It's a year round sport. The Holy Trinity junior works with sprint Coach Mark Bailey, a long jump record holder at the University of Georgia, and Olympic Trials jumper. Gayles along with her twin sister Gaby run summer track with Bailey and complete in AAU meets to stay in shape for the off season. 
Recently, Head Coach Doug Butler took his team to Jacksonville for the Eagle Open. He says it was a chance to run against some of North Florida's classiest programs and test their talent against some unfamiliar foes.
"We went up there five years ago and I love Jacksonville and all the schools there. BK, Bolles, and Episcopal are all classy schools with great kids and thats what I look for when I go to meets. We used to do the Bulldog meet at Bolles, but cant work it into the schedule with Indoor Nationals. So this is our chance to get up there for another great meet. The kids love it, and I want to try to get to Jax every year."
Gayles introduced herself to her fellow competitors starting out the day with a very impressive 18-6.75 in the long jump and then posting a 12.27 to win the 100 meter dash. Coming into meets, Butler preaches to his kids to have fun. With 105 athletes he wants to bring the whole group, thus not allowing for anyone to do more than two events. He says he joked with Daryth before the start of the meet to get her less tense.
"Daryth is an intense athlete and does not relax. So right before she took one of her run throughs, I said to her 'Which one is the 20-foot girl?' She about had a seizure and then asked me if I was serious. I said 'No, just wanted you to relax.' So I think if we can get her to relax, all the pieces will be in place."
Butler adds that Gayles is in better shape now then she has ever been in coming into a season. No performances surprise the coach anymore. Out of the five years and 40 meets she has competed in he can't remember one bad meet she's had. He says that with the pace she is on, Daryth has the chance to score a good amount of points come state.
"Last year, she won the 100 at state, was third in the 200, fifth in the long jump. As Daryth and Gaby go, so goes the team. With Julie, our 4x1, 4x4, and Taya Britten, that will be the majority of our points. We have a chance to score in some other events if we work hard, but we will have to have a great day if we want to move up a spot this year."

Daryth's Athlete Profile

BOYS WINNER - Brylan Slay - Senior @ Winter Park
Brylan Slay wasted no time coming from the gridiron to the track. As a matter of fact the day after football ended he was running. Coach Dennis Kozub describes the Winter Park senior as a hard worker and head hunter.
"I don't have to tell Brylan to focused, he stays focused on his own. He has great range from the 200m to the 800m.  He ran a 1:56 leg on the 4x800 which finished third in 7:42  and earned all state honors in the 400m (sixth place) and anchored the 4x400 m relay to a seventh place finish."
That range was on display the past week. Slay and some of his Wildcat teammates headed to Kentucky for the UK Invitational. Kozub and Coach Kristin McWilliams wanted to showcase their athletes on a great track and a meet with a great atmosphere. The senior put on a show in the 400 meters finishing first in a new personal best and US #5 time of 48.24. Kozub says the goal for the meet was simple.
"The goal was to beat somebody. He beat everybody."
Slay also finished 11th in the 200 with a personal best time of 22.48.  Following the meet, the group headed back from Lexington, Kentucky en route to Winter Park. Estimated time of the trip was around 12-13 hours. No rest for the group because Monday morning was right around the corner and they were hosting the Wildcat Open. His versatility was on display when he competed in some unfamiliar events the 300 and 600 meter runs, winning both in 34.80 and 1:24.04 respecitvely.  Kozub says it was just another day at the office.
"We train all of our kids to run everything so it wasn't different training for Wildcat Open.  He is a tough kid and he will run anything for his team."
Kozub says he isn't ready to label the progress of Slay just yet, but the senior has set his goals for the rest of the season.
"He wants to win state titles in the 400 meters and in his two relays."

Brylan's Athlete Profile