Taleea Buxton Broke Many Barriers to Break Pennsylvania’s 100-meter Hurdles Record

Taleea Buxton began competing in hurdles at the age of 12. While she was racing with her friends, Corey Johnson, who is the coach for a local track and field club, happened to be watching and noticed how fast she was. Johnson invited Buxton to join the team, so she brought a sign-up sheet home.

Once her mom gave permission for her to join, Buxton became a member of the team and immediately developed a strong interest in the hurdles. Johnson did not initially choose Buxton to participate in the event, but Buxton was unexpectedly put into the competition at a meet at Widener University without any previous experience.

“I didn’t know anything about how to go over a hurdle,” Buxton said. “The first time I tried going over the hurdles, I took three steps between each hurdle, and I won. It felt like something I was naturally good at.”

Buxton, who is now a freshman at Syracuse, has been successful with the Orange team. She set a new record in the girl’s 100-meter outdoor hurdles in Pennsylvania, with a time of 13.80 seconds at Western Catholic High School. She has faced challenges with changing schools in high school and dealing with ongoing injuries, but she has still managed to be successful at SU. So far, she has received Second Team All-ACC honors for finishing fifth in the 60-meter hurdles (8.38) at the ACC Indoor Championships on Feb. 22.

“Being named All-ACC speaks for itself,” said Dave Hegland, the associate head track and field coach at Syracuse. “The women’s hurdle event is highly competitive and challenging.” Winning that accolade as a freshman right away was a tremendous achievement for her.

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Although Buxton is currently a successful Division I hurdler, she was inexperienced and unaware in the beginning. However, her natural talent has been evident since the first time she participated in a hurdling competition.

“She quickly became skilled at hurdles,” said Brandon Shell, who coached Buxton at Infinity Track Club from the age of 12 until high school. “I was impressed because she was new to everything and I had some experienced runners on the team who I knew were very fast.”

As she got better, Buxton became a top high school hurdler and wanted to break the record for the 100-meter hurdles in Class 2A, which is one of the divisions for high school sports in Pennsylvania. Buxton needed everything to happen perfectly in order to break the record — and that’s exactly what happened. She achieved a new record in her final season, surpassing the previous time of 14.04 seconds with a finish time of 13.80 seconds.

“I just remember going out there and thinking, ‘Today is the day that I will accomplish what I came here to do,'” Buxton said. Nia Ali, who came in second place and won the silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympics, noticed Buxton’s achievements. Shell introduced Buxton to Ali and told him that she was a talented runner who was likely to surpass his records. Shell told Buxton that she was already better than Ali was when she was the same age, and that she was on a great path to success.

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Buxton’s progress has been uneven. When she was in her second year at Bishop McDevitt High School, the school closed down for good. Buxton decided to enroll in the school because it had a good reputation for success. Buxton said that it was a very difficult time when the school fell apart. She then transferred to Western Catholic, along with her former coach Eric Young and many of her teammates.

In addition, Buxton has dealt with ongoing injuries throughout her career. She could have won her third high school indoor championship as a senior, but she was unable to compete due to a groin injury.
Since Buxton set the state outdoor record in June 2023, they haven’t been completely healthy.

Since arriving in Syracuse, she has experienced various injuries including a bone bruise, hamstring injuries, inflammation on the outside of her posterior, and swelling and inflammation on her ankle. Shell thinks that Buxton’s injuries are caused by his aggressive running style. Buxton mentioned that she needs to focus on rehabilitating and strengthening her ankle. She will avoid putting too much strain on it until it is completely healed.

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