The FHSAA Finals Class 2A track meet last weekend in Jacksonville was a little weird from the start for Lake Placid sophomore Quiahja Williams.
To begin with, Williams was the lone Green Dragon to make the trip to the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium to compete. She took 13th in the high jump and finished 16th of 16 in the 100-meter dash. It was her first time competing at the meet.
“I’m OK,” she said. “I know I can do better. It takes hard work, so I’ll just work harder.”
The finals were a trying meet for most as heavy storms swooped in Friday morning and forced the cancellation of the preliminary heats, turning the meet into a timed-finals event. It made the track a bit slick for her 100 and forced repeated squeegees on the high jump runway just to make it usable.
Never mind that the environment would be a lot for a first-timer to take in.
“It is (hard) and it’s wet,” she said. “So it’s going to be harder.”She topped out at 4 feet, 10 inches in the high jump, taking a break halfway through the event to run her 100.
“For something like this, I just try to keep her staying within herself,” Lake Placid jumping coach Devontra Flemming said. “It’s a big competition, a lot of people, so it’s going to be different. I don’t focus on the events, I just try to keep her concentrating.”
She ran the sprint in 13.33 seconds, slower than her seeded time.
But she admitted being the only Dragon at the meet was a little unsettling.
In fact, Williams was outnumbered by her own coaches at the FHSAA Finals on Friday, with head coach Cason Harris and Flemming both on hand to watch her.
“I just have to represent the team myself, represent where I come from and hopefully I’ll do better,” Williams said. “It’s hard. I’ve got to meet people by myself. It’s just me and the coach (here).”