The confidence and big-moment experience was already there in May as Baldwin’s Zykeria Williams prepped for the GHSA Class 4A girls track and field meet.
Having won a 200-meter dash title as a sophomore and nearly taking first in the 100-meter hurdles as a junior despite an injury, Williams knew that she had an ability to win against the state’s best.
And she did just that, cementing a career as arguably the best track and field athlete in school history with a combined 110 points in the region, area and state meets.
All of the efforts culminated in state meet competition, winning first place in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles to go with second-place finishes in the 200 meter run and as part of the 4x100 relay team. It all helped Baldwin amass enough points for a finish of third place.
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“I’ve been involved with this track program since 1975 and seen many athletes come and go, but none of them have been like Zykeria,” Baldwin head track and field coach Anderson Bentley said. “She exemplifies all that is good in this sport.”
Williams is The Telegraph All-Middle Georgia Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“She was a winner, she refused to lose,” Bentley said.
After rolling through the competition at the region and area levels, the coronation of the career of Williams awaited at the state meet.
“There was definitely confidence. I had won state before and knew I could do it again,” Williams said. “I had the times coming in to do it. I lost the hurdles last year by a hundredths of second, it was close.”
Williams was also prepared having seen strong competition not only in GHSA events, but also in other settings, as well, by way of competing against athletes in out-of-state meets, giving Williams a higher standard to strive for.
”We gave her a chance to see best competition so that she wouldn’t be fooled and thinking what you do around here is OK,” Bentley said. “She saw what you need to do be able to compete on a national level. So she worked and accepted it, and I am just so glad for her.”
Williams could not be faulted for lamenting on how close she came to winning a state title three years in a row. While she finished second in the 100 meter hurdles as a junior, that also came in a year in which she persevered through a hamstring injury.
“I was upset, but felt like maybe it wasn’t my year,” Williams said. “I was upset, but I wasn’t made or anything. If I was that close, I knew the next year I could dominate.”
Healing up from the injury, Williams spent the summer before her senior season dialed in on getting back to 100 percent strength, giving her a firm mindset all the way into the start of this past season.
With that focus, she was primed and ready to go.
“Going into the season, I was pretty much up to where I needed to be,” Williams said.
And the focus was wide for Williams. In getting its best athletes in position, Baldwin slotted Williams in multiple events from relays to individual ones such as the 100-meter hurdles, 200 meters and the long jump.
“I approached everything different because I run things different and do different drills to prepare,” Williams said. “For the hurdles, I basically do my hurdle drills. The 200 is like a mind thing as well, but as long as you have a good mindset and get out the block good, you should have a good race.”
Williams is already racing toward her next chapter.
She’s already in Indiana, where she’ll compete for the Big Ten’s Hoosiers starting with the indoor season. Williams is obviously excited for her opportunity with Indiana.
“Its very exciting, I feel like it’s a new chapter,” Williams said. “I know there will be different competition and different meets and stuff like that, but I think as long as I do what I need to do and have my mindset to compete at bigger meets, I should be fine.”
Previous All-Middle Georgia selections this spring
All-Middle Georgia schedule
A look at the schedule for All-Middle Georgia teams to be released with the days the results will be posted on Macon.com and in The Telegraph:
June 19/20: Boys track
June 20/21: Girls soccer
June 21/22: Boys soccer
June 22/23: Baseball
June 23/24: Girls Athlete of the Year
June 24/25: Boys Athlete of the Year
All-Middle Georgia girls track team
Athlete of the year: Zykeria Williams, Baldwin
DaLoria Boone, John Milledge, junior
Boone set the GISA Class 3A record in the long jump, winning the state title with a jump of 18-8½, a jump that would have won a GHSA title in four of that association’s eight classes. She also won GISA titles in the 100 and 200, and she was on the winning 4x100 relay team.
Carson Dingler, Mary Persons, senior
Dingler goes 4-for-4 in the pole vault, winning the GHSA Class 4A title at 13-6 after winning three Class 1A private school titles at FPD. She has signed with Stephen F. Austin.
Olympia High, Mary Persons, senior
High closes out her high school career with a Class 4A title in the 300 hurdles in 44.44 seconds. She finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the triple jump. She has signed with Kennesaw State.
Zoe Jordan, Westside, junior
Jordan successfully defended her GHSA Class 3A triple jump title at 39 feet even, an improvement of a little more than a foot from her winning jump in 2016.
Abigail Kirkland, GMC, senior
Kirkland, who has signed with North Georgia, won the GHSA Class 1A public school 300 hurdles (44.23 seconds) and open 400 (57.87 seconds) titles.
Erin Leonard, Jones County, sophomore
Leonard completed the GHSA Class 5A distance triple crown, winning the 1,600 (5:05.02) and 3,200 (10:50.45) to go along with last fall’s cross country title. Her 3,200 time was the third-fastest among all classifications.
Ciarra Munsey, John Hancock, sophomore
Munsey went 5-for-5 at the GICAA Division I meet, winning the 200 (26.68), 300 hurdles (48.97), long jump (16-9) and triple jump (32-1) while also running on the first-place 4x400 relay team (4:31.60).
Shaianne Sipsey, Veterans, sophomore
Sipsey placed in four events at the GHSA Class 5A meet, finishing second in the 400, fifth in the triple jump, seventh in the 200 and took part in the seventh-place 4x100 relay.
India Turk, Howard, freshman
Turk won the GHSA Class 4A triple jump title, posting the third-best winning mark in the state among all classes at 39-6. She also finished eighth in the 200.
Mekya Walden, Central, freshman
Walden placed in four events in the GHSA Class 3A meet, finishing third in the 200 and fifth in the 100 while also taking part on the third-place 4x100 relay and the fifth-place 4x400 relay,
Zykeria Williams, Baldwin, senior
Williams, who has signed with Indiana, posted the top 100-meter hurdles time in all classifications at the GHSA Class 4A championships, finishing in 13.69 seconds. She also won the long jump (18-7¼) and had second-place finishes in the 200 and the 4x100 relay.
Bleckley County: Austin Perez.
Brentwood: Peyton Prince.
CFCA: Diamond Morgan, Hannah Duncan.
East Laurens: Ja’Mya Canady, Kennedee Williams.
John Hancock: Cortney Brown.
Monticello: Alina Jablonski.
Peach County: Maketa Rashidi.
Southwest: Alexia Perkins.
Trinity Christian-Dubin: Ruthie Scott.