Layla Haynes, the standout senior distance runner at IMG Academy by way of the Caribbean nation of Barbados, appears that she has enjoyed her stay in Florida so much that she signed this week to run collegiately for the University of Florida.
Haynes came to IMG Academy two years ago as a junior in the fall of 2021 having already established herself as one of the top youth distance runners from Barbados and throughout the Caribbean. Haynes has continued to develop while training in Bradenton, Florida including break 2:10 for 800 meters on several occasions including a victory at last spring's Florida Relays and most recently earning All-American honors at New Balance Nationals Indoor with a sixth place finish in Boston.
Haynes has great range as well as shown with her cross country 5K best of 17:40 and ran consistently in the 18 minute range with high finishes and several wins in major invitationals over the past two falls of racing against Florida's elite distance talent. Haynes was a runner-up at last April's Carifta Games held in Jamaica at 800 meters, while finishing third in the 1500 meter run representing Barbados.
She also held the national leading time at 600 meters for a week this past indoor season with her 1:31.37 performance in Gainesville at the Legends of Alachua County Meet.
It has been a big week of commitments and signings for the distance program at the University of Florida under the direction of their new cross country head and and track assistant Will Palmer as Montverde Academy's Riley Novack and Cambridge Christian's Braxton Legg also announced this week they will be headed to compete for the Gators in Gainesville next fall.
Haynes will definitely be looking forward to the Florida Relays in two weeks with a chance to repeat as the 800 meter champion in front of her future coaches and teammates.