Patton Tallent signing

Patton senior Dalton Tallent on Wednesday signed to run track at Lees-McRae College starting next year. Flanking him on the front row are his mother Holly Tallent (left) and father Phillip Tallent. Standing is Patton head coach Chip Lewis.

Patton runner Dalton Tallent won’t reach with the end of the line when he concludes his high school track and field career this spring. He’ll continue running at the college level for Lees-McRae College in nearby Banner Elk.

Tallent won both the 100 meters (11.12 seconds) and 200 meters (22.75) in personal-record times last spring at the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference championship meet en route to dual All-NWC honors. He was also part of the Panthers’ 4x400 relay conference gold medal squad that day.

Tallent has left his mark on the Patton program, having set school records in essentially “every race he has run,” according to his father, Phillip Tallent.

A hamstring injury at regionals last year prevented Tallent from winning regional medals and earning state qualifying spots as a junior. However, he rebounded to finish sixth in this winter’s NCHSAA 3A indoor state meet in the 300 meters.

Tallent said his contact with Lees-McRae began over the winter when he began putting some thought toward continuing his career collegiately.

“I started looking for a college I could go run at,” Tallent said. “(Lees-McRae was) the first to come contact me at my winter meets. I was still looking at other colleges, but they really stood out to me.

“They’re close to home. I like the campus. I like the coach there. That’s really why I chose Lees-McRae.”

Tallent, who will major in nursing at Lees-McRae, said he anticipates running the 200 meters and 400 meters collegiately. Tallent said he will miss the friendly atmosphere of the Patton track team. He has run track throughout his secondary education.

“(I’ll miss) just having close-knit friends that you can rely on to run and give it all they had with me,” said Tallent. “I started running track my seventh grade year at Liberty.”

Patton track coach Chip Lewis said Tallent has worked hard to earn his success and has earned the right to compete at the next level.

“I couldn’t be happier for him,” said Lewis. “He’s put the work in to be ready to contribute as soon as he gets (to Lees-McRae). Dalton is probably the hardest working kid I’ve ever coached.

“Dalton could go in and be a conference champion for (Lees-McRae) day one. He will go in, in my eyes, and compete in and be at the top of their boards in two or three events. There ain’t a whole lot of Dalton Tallents out there.”


Justin Epley can be reached at or 828-432-8943.

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