Nerinx Hall senior Peyton Chaney has always admired her older brother, Paul, and now she has taken another step to emulate his track career by taking her skills to the Division-I college level.
Peyton recently inked her national letter of intent to attend the University of Virginia next year. Paul, a state sprint champion at SLUH, continued running at the University of Iowa, and now works for Enterprise since his graduation.
“He is definitely my biggest role model,” Peyton said. “He was so smooth and so fast. I strive to be just like him. He’s always been a person I look up to, not just on the track, but in life.”
Paul is still influencing his younger sister, and Paul Chaney Sr. said his son made a surprise visit while Peyton and her mother were on a recent spring break trip to Chicago.
“He took her out and worked her hard with some 300s,” Paul Chaney Sr. said. “When I heard the times, I knew he had pushed her. There’s something about when he’s around she steps her game up even more.”
Peyton said she chose Virginia after her official visit when she fell in love with the campus and the program. She also took visits to Ole Miss and Kansas.
Before Peyton finishes her high school career, she still has plenty of goals she’s like to achieve. Not only does she want to defend her Class 4 state title in the 200-meter dash, which she won last year with a PR time of 24.54, but she’d like to add titles in the 100 and 400. Peyton ran her PR 100 time of 11.72 when she captured second place at Great Southwest last summer, and her fastest 400 time of 57.76 earned her fifth at state.
There’s plenty of competition in all the sprints, most notably defending 100 champion Tianna Valentine of Hazelwood East. Valentine, who has signed with Kansas, provides plenty of motivation for Peyton to push herself through her final high school season.
“Having her as an opponent adds to my fire because I know she’s out there working hard,” Peyton said.
The two have a friendly rivalry that was strengthened when both were invited and competed at last year’s Adidas Dream 100 in New York City. Peyton took eighth in 12.31.
Peyton also sees the KU Relays coming up in mid April as a chance to not only defend a premier title, but she can use it as a gauge to how her season is progressing. Peyton won the 100 at KU last year in 12.03.
“I love running at KU with the different competition I don’t see all the time,” Peyton said. “Hopefully I can get the 100 and 400 and get that time so I qualify for New York again.”