Rais­ing the bar

Lackey grad­u­ate, Tem­ple re­cruit Wil­liams wows on­look­ers in fi­nal state meet

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Through­out her ca­reer as a key mem­ber of the Lackey High School in­door and out­door track and field teams, re­cent grad­u­ate Syd­ney Wil­liams of­ten seemed less in­clined to talk about her ac­com­plish­ments on the track and far more likely to let the re­sults speak for them­selves.

In her fi­nal days as a mem­ber of the Charg­ers squad, Wil­liams gave on­look­ers plenty to talk about at Morgan State Univer­sity in Bal­ti­more when she cap­tured four Class 2A state ti­tles — one bet­ter than the triple she recorded the year be­fore — to help the team gar­ner its sec­ond straight state out­door cham­pi­onships team ti­tle, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 113 points to best Here­ford of Bal­ti­more County by nearly 50 points.

Wil­liams, who is headed to Tem­ple Univer­sity this fall on an ath­letic schol­ar­ship, cap­tured the 100-me­ter dash (12.17 sec­onds), 100 hur­dles (14.50), 300 hur­dles (43.44) and long jump (19 feet 1 inch) one year af­ter she earned state ti­tles in the 100 hur­dles (14.33), 300 hur­dles (45.56) and 200 (25.02). Her first ef­fort in the long jump eas­ily stood as the best of the day — the 19-1 mark set­ting a 2A record — and her sec­ond jump (17-11) was ac­tu­ally the sec­ond best ef­fort in that event.

“I was very ex­cited about win­ning the long jump,” Wil­liams said af­ter claim­ing four state ti­tles at Morgan State. “That

was the first time that I had com­peted in that event at the state level. I never ex­pected to go 19-1. All sea­son long my main fo­cus had been on the hur­dles. I was happy with the way I ran those events. It all came down to be­ing ready for this day.”

Wil­liams had spent much of the pre­vi­ous three years and even the ear­lier part of this year com­pet­ing on one or two re­lays, but with the state cham­pi­onships ap­proach­ing she by­passed the ba­ton to com­pete in the long jump pit. But she also needed to main­tain her fo­cus on com­pet­ing in the hur­dles, events she had dom­i­nated through­out the in­door and out­door meets as a ju­nior and se­nior.

“I had not re­ally been hit­ting my tar­get time in the 100 hur­dles all spring,” Wil­liams said. “But at the re­gion meet I fi­nally came in at 14 and then at the state meet I was hop­ing to go 14 low like I did last year. It was a lit­tle above what I wanted, but I was glad that I won it. I never ex­pected to come here and win four state ti­tles.”

Wil­liams also gave am­ple credit to her team­mates, in­clude fel­low sprint spe­cial­ist Dom­inque Jef­fery, the state cham­pion in the 200 who was ac­tu­ally the run­ner-up to Wil­liams in the 100, and re­lay mem­bers Day­nah De­sir, Erin Pearson and Tay­lor Wil­liams, her younger sis­ter, for pro­vid­ing am­ple com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing prac­tices and meets lead­ing up to the state meet.

“We re­ally push each other in prac­tice,” Wil­liams said. “Hav­ing that type of com­pe­ti­tion on your own team just makes every one bet­ter. Hav­ing team­mates like that is re­ally im­por­tant. We’ve been work­ing hard in prac­tice all sea­son. Then at the meets we still come here and push each other to get faster.”

Al­though over­shad­owed some­what by her older team­mate, Jef­fery per­formed at a high level through­out the in­door and out­door sea­sons and now looms as the Charg­ers heir ap­par­ent to the va­cancy Wil­liams will leave be­hind.

“It’s been great hav­ing Syd­ney on the team with me,” Jef­fery said. “She’s re­ally fast and she works hard and we all push each other to get bet­ter. Hav­ing that type of com­pe­ti­tion on your own team is great. We all want to get faster and we push each other at every prac­tice and every meet.”

North Point grad­u­ate Mal­lo­rie Smith, another Tem­ple Univer­sity re­cruit who rapidly grew ac­cus­tomed to fac­ing Wil­liams and her youth­ful team­mates over the past four years, seemed pleased to know that the ac­com­plished Charg­ers run­ner will soon be one of her Owls team­mates in Philadel­phia.

“She’s re­ally been great com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing the in­door and out­door sea­son,” said Smith, who won the 4A East Re­gion ti­tle in the 200 (24.70) and the 400 (56.50) then fin­ished fourth in those events at the 4A state cham­pi­onships at Morgan State. “We had a lot of good com­pe­ti­tion in SMAC. It was good be­ing able to com­pete against those Lackey girls. They all push you to get bet­ter.”

FILE PHOTO

Re­cent Lackey High School grad­u­ate and Tem­ple Univer­sity re­cruit Syd­ney Wil­liams capped her ca­reer by cap­tur­ing state ti­tles in the 100 hur­dles and 300 hur­dles dur­ing the in­door and out­door sea­sons.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

North Point High School grad­u­ate Mal­lo­rie Smith, who won two Class 4A East Re­gion ti­tles and fin­ished fourth in two state meet events, now joins Lackey High School grad­u­ate Syd­ney Wil­liams on the track and field team at Tem­ple Univer­sity.

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