In 8th grade, Dayton Williams high jumped 5'2" as a season PR. Entering his senior campaign as a Blazer, Dayton jumped 6'10" indoors last month. This outdoor season as a senior was going to be his best yet. Dayton was the defending Sunflower League Champion, a two-time Regional Champion and as a sophomore was the 6A State Runner-up. Placing 4th at state as a junior, Dayton helped the Blazer boys to the 6A state team title--our first in school history. He was the first athlete I hugged on the infield when the results were finalized. We cried tears of joy together.
His talent is only half the story, however. Dayton is one of the greatest teammates I've had the pleasure of working with in my 20 year coaching career. He leads by example on and off the track. He is universally respected by his teachers and by his peers. And he's genuinely happier for you when good things happen than you may even be for your own accomplishments.
When he broke the school record at the Shawnee Mission South Relays in 2019 he hugged his mom and then his coach. But his loudest cheer and most boisterous celebration came for his teammate Kevin Michaud when he cleared a personal best height. As a coach, I can't get enough of that kind of character. He's a chemistry-builder. That's Dayton.
This season the Blazer boys had a great shot at defending their state championship and repeating as champs. Dayton had a great shot at winning an individual state title as well. But what I hurt for most in this circumstance is missing those memories of Dayton with his teammates, leading them and encouraging them. Great jumper. Better person.
-Brian McGee, Blazers Boys Head T&F Coach