FORT PAYNE — Despite a nagging calf injury, Geraldine senior Collin Mayfield still proved to be among the state’s elite crop of runners.
Mayfield clocked in at 16 minutes, 33 seconds, just 5 seconds behind Providence Christian’s Conner Patterson to place second overall in the Class 3A boys race at the AHSAA Cross Country State Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Oakville on Saturday.
“Somebody told me that what really matters is all the work I’ve put in, and that’s something I am proud of, how hard I pushed myself to get there,” Mayfield said during a phone interview with The Times-Journal on Monday afternoon. “I’m upset with runner-up, but I’m glad to be where I am.”
The sectional course at White Plains made things difficult on Mayfield’s leg, but he still staved off a late chase down by Pleasant Valley’s Cayden Nelson to win the state qualifier.
The worsening calf injury kept Mayfield from running at all in the 10-day span leading up to the state race and it hindered him again Saturday.
The senior liked his chances to repeat as an individual state champion prior to injury.
“Nothing’s set in stone, but I was in really great shape and I was ready and then the injury happened,” Mayfield said.
On Saturday, Mayfield led at the 1-mile mark when Patterson overtook the lead. Mayfield made a move into the lead near the 2-mile mark and held it until Patterson sprinted ahead and won by a 5-second margin.
“The last 200 meters really took a toll on Collin, as his injury prevented him from sprinting to keep the lead,” Geraldine head coach Robin Bynum said. “Conner Patterson worked hard to keep his pace and pull through with a well-deserved win. Hopefully Collin will be able to rest and recover and be back for track season.”
Mayfield’s teammate and fellow senior Ezekiel Anderson (20:07) finished 87th overall in the state race.
“He’s running up to 50 miles a week, he’s doing the little things right, like eating and sleeping properly,” Mayfield said of Anderson. “And for him to qualify, which was his goal, I was very happy and proud of him.”
Mayfield’s individual state runner-up finish followed last year’s individual state championship win on the same course. Mayfield had a winning time of 16:16, 29 seconds faster than second-place finisher Paul Gonzalez of J.B. Pennington in 2019.
The Geraldine senior has won four state championships as a high school athlete, including three state titles in track and field won at last year’s AHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham.
St. Bernard won the 3A boys team competition Saturday, J.B. Pennington placed second and Providence Christian was third.