Carrollton High School pole vaulter Payton Phillips has committed to the University of Georgia.
The two-time state champion announced her decision through Twitter on Monday.
Phillips’ tweet said “Grateful to announce I have verbally made the decision to continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Georgia. I want to thank my parents and coaches who have helped me get to where I am today.”
Carrollton Track and Field Head Coach Gwen Engram shared her opinion on the athlete’s decision:
“It means a lot, and not just to me, but to the Carrollton High School female track and field program.” she said. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments she’s made going toward the next level.”
Phillips’ pole vaulting coach and father, Carey Phillips, said that this decision is like a dream come true for her.
According to Carey, after her sophomore year, she was invited to the New Balance Nationals Indoor competition in New York City, where she finished second in the emerging elite pole vault. On the return home, they visited multiple universities, such as Clemson, North Carolina and Wake Forest, but none of them caught her attention.
However, the minute Phillips stepped on campus at the University of Georgia, she was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the track facilities and school.
“We left there and she was like ‘Daddy, that was awesome. That’s where I want to be.’ Ever since then, she’s been 100% committed to that,” Carey said. “For that offer to come through, I think she’s beyond words right now. She feels like she’s living in a dream right now.”
Phillips pole vaulting career began in the eighth-grade, when she jumped an 11-7 and became the nation’s No. 1 eighth-grade pole vaulter.
At the end of her freshman year, Phillips became a state champion, placed second in the USA Track and Field’s pole vaulting competition, and was named a Junior Olympic Track & Field All-American.
The following year, Phillips became a state champion, where she broke the state record with a 13-2 1/2 jump, and was named a Junior Olympic Track & Field All-American once again. She also won the national championship and set a nationals records of 13-5 1/4.
During a meet her sophomore year, Phillips achieved her highest jump of 13-7, which was the fourth highest jump in the nation at the time. Also, she was awarded the Red Smith Award for Outstanding Female Field Athlete at the 55th Annual Powerade All-Metro Track & Field Banquet, which is uncommon for a sophomore.
Phillips jumped over 13-feet in seven competitions her sophomore year. Her successful results produced an invitation to the New Balance Nationals Indoor competition, where she placed second in the emerging elite pole vault. She also qualified for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor’s elite pole vault competition that summer.
During Phillips’ junior year, she was once again invited to New Balance Nationals Indoor competition. However, she never competed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Entering her senior year, Phillips’ is the nation’s No. 33 overall 2021 female track recruit, which is equivalent to a five-star football recruit, according to MileSplit.