Reheem Hayles
Coastal Athletic Association

North Carolina A&T 400M runner finishes sixth nationally

Reheem Hayles finishes 2023 as a first-team All-American with a top 10 finish.

Courtesy of NC A&T Athletics

AUSTIN, TEXAS – In a 4×400-meter relay race in New York in 2018, 16-year-old Reheem Hayles competed in the sport of track and field for the first time. The Jamaican native took the baton at city championships when his team was in fifth place and gained enough ground during his split to help his team finish second. Only five years later, he stood on a podium with the number six underneath his feet, having finished sixth in the NCAA in the 400 meters at the 2023 NCAA Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Friday night for the North Carolina A&T outdoor men’s track and field program. 

During the third day of the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the second and final day for the male athletes, Hayles recorded a 45.22 in the NCAA final, his second-fastest time in the event during his career. It came two days after he posted a career-best 44.81 in the semifinals. Hayles earned first-team All-American honors with his sixth-place finish. He is now a two-time first-team All-American after earning the accolade as a 4×400-meter relay participant in last year’s championships. 

“I was not doing any kind of track before then,” said Hayles during an interview earlier this year. “I’ve just always been an athletic person. In Jamaica, where I grew up, we always do a lot of sports, whether it’s cricket or football — you guys call it soccer — or track. We have this thing called Sports Day, and we go out and compete in different sports. You learn a lot of different sports as you’re growing up.”

Within two years of starting his journey in track and field, Hayles became one of the most sought-after athletes in the country, making him one of the most highly-ranked athletes to ever sign with the Aggies track and field programs. When he arrived at North Carolina A&T, the Aggies’ established 400m program featured future Olympians Trevor Stewart and Randolph Ross, Jr. 

But Stewart would exhaust his eligibility, and Ross Jr. transferred, leaving the one-lap event in the hands of Reheem Hayles and teammate Shemar Chambers

“It was a great opportunity, and I’m always looking for new opportunities such as this one,” said Hayles about what became his new role in 2023. “It put me in a position where I had no choice but to be good. But you know, that’s the goal each time you go out there. It is to be better.”

Reheem Hayles became one of the best 400m runners in the country as a sophomore. He reached his personal best twice during the season and won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) indoor and outdoor titles in the 400m. His sixth-place finish on Friday is tied for the highest finish by a CAA competitor since 2013. 

“I felt good in the warmups,” said Hayles after his 400m run on Friday. “I felt fast. I felt smooth. Everything felt good. While I was running, I could see everything that was happening. After my first 200, I thought everything was good. But I was not committed enough over the last 200. 

If I were, it would have made the race a better race. But overall, it was a solid race. It was my second-fastest time, so overall, I really don’t have a problem with it.”

North Carolina A&T director of track and field, Allen Johnson, said Hayles handled his new time in the spotlight well because he was laser-focused on his preparation and execution. Hayles, who has at least two years of eligibility remaining, described the season as fun even though part of him believes he can do much better than sixth place in the nation. 

But finishing sixth nationally is a pretty impressive feat for a person who only decided five years ago to get handed a baton. 

 “I’m not mad at all,” said Hayles. After the race, I thought I could have done it. I could have done it. But I’m proud of myself. Looking back on last year, I have to be proud. I have no choice but to be proud of myself and the work I’ve been putting in. But the work is not done.”

North Carolina A&T 400M runner finishes sixth nationally
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To Top