With her small stature and the fact that she had no top-four finishes this season, it was probably easy to overlook Ball High’s Lehya Williams at last week’s District 23-5A track and field meet.
Williams took care of that in a hurry.
The pint-sized freshman stunned the field at the district meet, finishing as the top-scoring girls athlete and qualifying for Thursday’s area meet in a whopping four events.
“I did a lot of jump drills, a lot of speed workouts and a lot of endurance workouts,” Williams said of her efforts leading up to the district meet. “And I just gave it my all in every single practice, never gave up and the hard work paid off eventually.”
The highlight for Williams was a district championship in the 100-meter hurdles, where she finished with a time of 16.69 seconds — shaving a full 1.5 seconds off her previous best time, according to Ball High head girls track coach Lindsay Haney.
“Lehya is one determined kid,” Haney said. “She’s just so coachable, and she’s one of those kids that’s extremely technical. Every drill that we’ve done together, she’s been able to apply it to her jumping.”
Williams also finished second place in the triple jump (35 feet, 5 inches), third place in the 300-meter hurdles (47.07) and third place in the long jump (17 feet, 4.5 inches). Haney said Williams’ ability comes from doing everything the right way and an intense determination to be a champion.
“She really has been a Cinderella story, especially with her being so young,” Haney said.
Williams began competing in track and field just two years ago as a seventh grader, and also played on Ball High’s freshman volleyball and basketball teams this year. But track stands alone as Williams’ favorite pastime.
“I really like the adrenaline rush; that’s why I really like track and field,” Williams said. “I like that it’s not a team sport, so I don’t have to rely on anybody else.”
Results from the area meet were not available before press deadline.