Williams, who attends Northeast High School, is the youngest competitor in the field at 16 years old. She proved age is just a number running faster than anyone else in the heats with a time of 11.28 which was the fifth fastest time of her high school career. It shows consistency as she ran 11.25, 11.26, and now 11.28 in her last three races.
"The hardest thing for me as a coach to do is leave her alone when she is tapering for a big meet but I did it," said Olympian and coach Ato Boldon. "I always feel like she'll be rusty."
After watching her run against the best in the world, Boldon noted she isn't rusty and she'll be ready for the semifinals and ultimately the finals tomorrow.
"She told me she stopped running hard early in the race and the video shows that," he said. "She ran better than I expected. Her start and drive phase will improve throughout the rounds."
Maybe it's the sweet shoes her coach gifted her before the meet bedazzled with the Jamaican colors as well as her nickname pancakes. According to Boldon, nobody loves and can down more pancakes than Williams.
Her biggest competition will come from Southern Cal freshman and Miami Northwestern alumni Twanisha Terry
(Photo by Joy Kimani/NSAF). Terry was third at the NCAA Championships for the team champion Trojans and won her first USA Junior Championship last month. She has a personal best of 10.99 from the Mt. Sac Relays where she just missed Candace Hill's American Junior Record by .01s. The first round in Finland came easy as she cruised to a victory in heat two with a time of 11.37s.
"The race went smooth," she said. "The goal was to execute the race and win the heat to automatically advance. Next round the goal is to run a little quicker, focus on my start and executing the zones.
LSU freshman and Northeast alumni Damion Thomas dominated his heat of the 110m hurdles. Thomas, who tied the U20 record of 12.99 at the Jamaican Junior Championships, ran 13.41 to advance to the semifinals which take place in the evening session. His mark is the fastest in the field, but that was the same situation in 2016 when he stumbled over the first hurdle, and saw his world medal hopes come crashing down. It's an experience he told us last month left a bad taste in his mouth that he doesn't want to feel again.
"The race was safe," Thomas told us. "I definitely more to improve and get better on moving forward."
American Heritage speedster and Auburn signee Anthony Schwartz will compete in the 100m semifinal and if he advances the final later this afternoon.