Finishing What She Started

Finishing What She Started
Danny Stock
Mic drop!
—Again and again, rising GDS senior Ziyah Holman has punctuated this 2019 athletics postseason with dominant performances to the cheers of coaches, teammates, friends, and family. In just 12 days of post-season track, student athlete Ziyah has delivered all that she and her coaches have been working towards this season.

June 11
Ziyah was named for the second time to the spring outdoor track 2019 All-Met First Team, after winning both the Independent School League (ISL) Championships and the DC State Athletic Association Championships with personal best times in the 200-meter (24.19) and the 400-meter (53.48) races.

June 15
Ziyah demolished her personal record in the 400-meter race at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Washington, shaving nearly a full second off her time to win the race by more than a second. The strong field at this prestigious race energized Ziyah to break 53 seconds for the first time. She crossed the line with a time of 52.62. WATCH NOW>>

June 20
Within the week, Gatorade announced Ziyah as their pick for the 2018-19 District of Columbia Girls Track & Field Player of the Year—her second time receiving the honor. The award celebrates Ziyah’s academic achievement, exemplary character, and her athletic accomplishments this year. Noteworthy in the press release are Ziyah’s community work around athletics leadership and with the Girl Scouts, her engagement academically at GDS, and her anchoring of GDS’s winning 4x400-meter team. Since arriving at GDS, Ziyah has given her all for the team events, even with her individual races on the line. Ted Findler, head coach of National Cathedral School, said “Ziyah might be the best sprinter I’ve coached against in my 20 years of coaching around D.C. She’s a phenomenal talent who keeps improving.”

In her own words, Ziyah was “patient and trusted the process, trusted my training, family, coaches, teammates and it paid off.”

June 22
Three days later, Ziyah raised the stakes again by qualifying in the preliminary rounds of USA Track & Field’s Under 20 Nationals in Miramar, Florida with a time of 53.23. GDS track coach Anthony Belber said, “I guess racing in 96 degree heat and Florida humidity against the top college freshmen and the top high school runners didn't intimidate you very much. Now you have to stick around until tomorrow's finals. I hope you are having as much fun racing at these National meets as I am having watching you! You continue to amaze us!!!”

June 23
Always known for finishing strong, Ziyah finished 3rd the following day with another astounding half-second shaving PR (52.12) to officially earn herself a bid to the USA U20 4x400-meter relay team for the Pan American Games in Costa Rica.

Just moments later and still breathing hard from the race, Ziyah once again demonstrated her composure in a post-race interview—even helping the reporter with accurate results. She breaks down her race plan: the need to get out fast and low, to stay calm around the bend, and push hard in the stretch, giving everything for the finish. WATCH THE INTERVIEW>>

Her performance was all the more impressive because she admitted to stumbling as she came out of the unfamiliar starting blocks and had to make up time in the later portions of the race by staying mentally calm yet physically aggressive.

June 24—Active rest
“Ziyah's accomplishments over these past two weeks are stunning,” Anthony explained. “She had already accomplished so much this season, dominating the local running scene and proving herself one of the top high school quarter milers in the country, but now she has gone to national meets on both coasts and proven that only a handful of the top under-20 prospects in the country can match her. The US junior national team is lucky to have someone with Ziyah's composure, maturity, and drive. I can't think of a better prospect for our nation to be taking to represent our GDS athletics program in Costa Rica.”

Sprint coach William Miezan who has been working with Ziyah on his own time over the past month summed it up best perhaps when he told Anthony this morning: “I will adjust my schedule to work with Ziyah. I’m not going anywhere—we need to finish what we started.”

Ziyah—We’re all behind you. It’s been one year since we published the three-part series Fast Feet and A Fresh Start on your remarkable journey since joining GDS. And your feet are only getting faster. It’s time to finish what you started. Let those feet fly!
Track runner at finish line.

Credit, Brooks PR Invitational

Athlete sitting on a throne.

Ziyah on the Brooks PR Invitational winners throne. Credit

Behind the scenes with Team USA U20 headshots. credit Rashida Holman-Jones

Finishing What She Started
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