Athlete of the Week: Mt. Edgecumbe’s Colton Paul shines at NYO Games

AOTW: Colton Paul
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 7:50 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Kipnuk’s Colton Paul competes for Mt. Edgecumbe High School, and participated in seven different events at the 2023 NYO Games, taking home five wins and setting a new world record in the scissor broad jump.

You couldn’t have asked for a better start to this year’s NYO Games than the show Paul put on, including the record-breaking scissor broad jump at an astonishing 38 feet and 7 inches — a jump of over a foot longer than the record set in 2017 of 37 feet and 5 inches.

“I was like, I gotta beat the state record,” Paul said. “Then I looked at the world record results — 37″ 5″ — and I was like I gotta beat that one too. All school year I have been working on my broad jumps, just plyometrics,” Paul said on the first day of competition.

Paul then went on to tie the two foot high-kick record at 101 inches, and took first place in the kneel jump and first in the Alaskan high kick.

Before key moments in the competition Paul started a slow clap that would slowly build into a roar in the stands, elevating the energy in the arena and preparing him to perform.

“High adrenaline, you get that boost of adrenaline when everybody is just clapping for you,” Paul said. “I like to have it really loud, just so I can get a little bit scared you know. I don’t really like loud noises, but when I have loud noise, I’m like okay I gotta go, I gotta go —it’s that flight or fight moment,” Paul said.

Paul’s brother passed away in 2017, which has been a motivation to continue on in the games and go all-out in every event that he enters.

“My brother introduced it to me when I was 7, 8 years old and I was immediately hooked to it. It’s the only sport I’ve ever done — basketball, wrestling, cross country wasn’t my thing. NYO was my only thing, and I knew that it was something that would keep me connected to my culture,” Paul said. “For me it’s a form of expression. It’s just everything, you know. NYO is my life, man.”

On the last day of competition, Paul shined in what he says is his favorite event, the one-foot high kick. It’s easy to see why it’s his favorite event because of just how good he is at it — adeptly leaping into the air before kicking with perfect form to nearly tie the state record of 114 inches.

As a senior in high school, 2023 will be the last year Paul compete in the NYO games, but he says that he wants to continue competing in the games at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks, where is planning to go college.