Posted February 17, 2016
David Paynotta chose the University of Wisconsin-River Falls by randomly selecting an invitation out of a pile of letters from schools asking him to come play football.
After playing football for the Falcons for one season, Paynotta decided to hang up his cleats and stick to his track shoes. Now he has broken two UWRF school records in two consecutive weeks.
He started running track his first semester of college, spring 2012. Paynotta had started running competitively his junior year of high school, and it turned out to be something he was good at.
Paynotta broke the first record on Jan. 30 in the 55-meter dash when he recorded a time of 6.42 seconds. The record was previously held by Mike Greenfield with a 6.45-second run in 1991, according to the UWRF sports information website.
Paynotta said he was surprised when he found out he broke the record at the Falcon Winter Classic.
“I felt like I ran fast, but I didn’t know I ran that fast,” he said. “I was super happy cause I’ve been trying to get that one for the last two years and I’ve been so close. But it’s hard with the 55-meter track ’cause we never run on them because it’s a 60-meter for the National event, so you don’t get the chance very often.”
Although Head Coach Danielle Douglas didn’t know he had broken the record right away she was not surprised about the results. She said she knows how talented Paynotta is.
“Honestly, I knew he had it in him, and I knew he had more in him, so I’m looking for him to magnify off the school record that he has already broken. So he’s not done,” she said, finishing with a laugh.
The following weekend the Falcons competed in Wartburg, Iowa, in the Wartburg Indoor Select where Paynotta managed to break another school record. While running the 200-meter dash he recorded his time of 22.26 seconds. That record has stood since 2003 when it was set by UWRF runner Wees Kennedy, who recorded a time of 22.46.
Besides breaking school records, Paynotta is also a full-time student, works at a pizza shop, and with any free time he may have he spends it volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. According to Douglas he is also on the 3.0 honor roll, which she said is something to be commended as a student athlete. She went on to say he is dedicated to making sure he always gets practice in despite his hectic schedule.
“He always tries to find a way to get practice in because he doesn’t want to miss that,” she said. “A lot of times that is hard for an athlete to do and still remain disciplined and put out a great performance.”
Paynotta attributes some of his success to the support he gets from his coaches and his teammates.
“Coaches are always pushing us every day in practice and getting us ready to go,” he said. “My teammates are always there to encourage and its nice to have someone to practice with.”
Paynotta also holds the school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.87 seconds, which he recorded in 2015. The Falcons will compete next in the Snowshoe Open at the University of Minnesota at 3 p.m. Feb. 19.