Briana Williams has reason to be happy. The 17-year-old junior at Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL has been named Girls Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News. The Jamaican athlete set a national record of 10.94 in the 100m to net the title.
Williams received 14 out of 19 votes for the honor, taking top spots in the 100m and 200m All-American events. She bested Anna Hall of Valor Christian High School in CO and Chloe Cunliffe of West Seattle High School in WA, who were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
The junior has had an exciting year. She won the Austin Sealy Award for the second consecutive year at the 2019 CARIFTA Games held in the Cayman Islands, winning in the 100m, 200m, and 400m relay. Williams also won the NACAC U18 100m title when she competed in Mexico and repeated the win at the Pan Am U20 in Costa Rica. She followed that with a win at the Greater Southwest Classic in New Mexico with a personal best of 11.02.
Some of those that didn’t vote for her indicated that she didn’t participate for her school last season, which isn’t a disqualification. Some cited reluctance due to a doping incident in which she tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), a medication for controlling blood pressure that prevents the body from retaining too much salt that can result in water retention.
Because of that, Williams just missed representing Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in Sept. 2019 after setting what would have been a World U18 record of 10.94 seconds. She was reprimanded and had no ineligibility penalty. She finished third in the 100m finals at the Jamaican National Championships.
Williams and her coach, Ato Boldon, are now looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics. The athlete had a good shot at being a medalist in 2019 and is looking forward to earning what could have been in 2019.
Photo Source: Briana Williams IG