Kenya Payne
Long Beach Poly Track & Field

Long Beach Poly’s Kenya Payne Commits To USC

Long Beach Poly senior Kenya Payne is one of the best high school hurdlers anywhere in the country, and on Sunday evening she made the announcement that she’s committed to continue her career on the collegiate level at USC.

Payne’s family was hosting a birthday party for her with a big group of friends and family on hand. After they sang Happy Birthday to her, she made the surprise announcement that she’s committed to become a Trojan.

“I really like the coaching staff, they’re very hands on and they’ve been really honest with me,” she said. “They were the first people who called me and they’ve stayed in touch throughout the process.”

Payne’s older sister, Kymber, was also a standout at Poly before going on to an All-American NCAA career at LSU, where she just finished up last spring.

Kenya was the No. 4 finisher in the 300 hurdles at the CIF State meet last year with a 42.30 finish, and helped lead Poly’s 4×100 team to a fourth-place finish at State as well.

“I just want to lower my times this year, I know I can do better,” she said.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.