Briana Williams just silenced the critics and proved why she is the best 100m sprinter in the country with a record setting performance. On Saturday, at the Bob Hayes Invitational, the Northeast HS sophomore crossed the line in with a wind legal time of11.13s. Her mark broke the 15 year old world age group set by Marion Jones and ties her for the fourth fastest ever all-time with Jacksonville native and Olympian Chandra Cheeseborough and Ashley Owens. Williams knew it was the perfect race.
"It was the best start and acceleration ever and I held my form better than ever," she told us afterwards. "My form felt like a pro athlete. In the prelims my start was terrible, but it was 50 something degrees and I hate the cold. The wind was also near perfect."
Only Angela Williams of California who ran 11.11 in 1998, fellow Floridian Kaylin Whitney who went 11.10 in 2014, and Candace Hill of Georgia who is the only high schooler to dip under 11s have run faster. Hill's 10.98 from the Brooks PR Invitational in 2015 was the only performance stopping Williams from a sophomore class record.
"It's amazing to run this fast this early because it's only my second race and I know how last year went," she added. "I know I will go faster. I have much to improve and more workouts to conquer."
Her coach, Trinidad & Tobago Olympian and NBC analyst Ato Boldon, echoed those sentiments.
"The numbers don't lie, said Boldon. "Briana is doing things in the weight room that I KNOW no 15 year old sprinter can do. I've been at every level of this sport. Out of her own mouth she told me she felt ready to run 11.1 this weekend and she never gets it wrong."
Williams told Boldon before the Jamaican Carifta Trials that she felt she would run 11.5 and she did just that into a head wind. Boldon sensed a stellar performance coming based on the week's practice.
"I thought she'd run 11.2," he added. "I knew on that track where 11.24 won last year and everyone ran fast that she'd PR if she got a tailwind."
Bob Hayes Invitational Girls 100m Final
|1||Briana Williams||10||Northeast HS (Oakland Park)||11.13||1.7||1|
|2||Aniya Harper||10||Westside High School||11.88||1.7||1|
|4||Ulani Toussaint||12||Miami Northwestern HS||11.99||1.7||1|
|5||Hannah Douglas||9||Olympia HS||12.03||1.7||1|
|6||Jacquevia Jones||12||Lincoln HS||12.11||1.7||1|
|7||Tiera Cleveland||12||Paxon School for Advanced Studies||12.24||1.7||1|
|8||Lamaria Washington||9||Miami Northwestern HS||12.27||1.7||1|
Don't expect to see Williams in a 100m dash for several weeks. She ran the Carifta Trials and this meet and that's it according to her coach. Boldon believes the missing piece of the formula between this year and last year is that now she is a team to run with.
"It's the same issue I had with Khalifa St Fort," he said. "Short sprinters hate the 400 and the 4x4 until they see what it does to their 200 and their 100.This year she's a staple on the Northeast 4x4 and has set PR's at 400 and 300m earlier in the year. I expect much more from her this year."
Fans at the Bob Hayes were hoping for a 200m showdown between Williams and freshman phenom Tamari Davis, but after she dropped the 11.13, Boldon says no way she was running another race.
"There is no question she's ready to run 22," he noted. "People forget she just ran 23.2 windy. I'm from the John smith school. You set a PR you're done for the day. She won't even run another race until Carifta in two weeks."
Boldon believes patience is key and that the sport is like a game of chess rather than checkers.
"I know people want Tamari versus Briana at 200m, but that's not my concern," he said. "They will get that a lot eventually. My concern is Briana Williams being at her best and injury free thru late summer. Nothing else matters. Nothing."