Briana Williams is Track & Field News High School Girls Athlete of the Year

By October 24, 2019

Track & Field News, widely recognized as the bible of the sport, has named Jamaica’s Briana Williams as the 2019 High School Girls Athlete of the Year.

The 17-year-old Williams won 14 of 19 votes for the top spot over Valor High School’s Anna Hall and Chloe Cunliffe of West Seattle, who were second and third, respectively.

She was thankful for the recognition.

“It’s an honour to be named the Track & Field News High School Athlete of the Year,” she told Sportsmax.TV.

“A lot of amazing athletes have gotten this title and to be named amongst them is astonishing and humbling because people have seen all the hard work I’ve put in for last season as a junior in high school. Thank you Track & Field News!”

However, according to the magazine, Williams lost more than one ballot because of the doping issue that overshadowed her year and the fact that she did not compete for her high school, Northeast High in Oakland Park, Florida, last season.

Williams missed representing Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in September when she tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) after setting what would have been a World U18 record 10.94s while finishing third in the 100m finals at the Jamaican National Championships in June.

She was reprimanded with no period of ineligibility by an independent anti-doping disciplinary panel in late September, 72 hours before the start of the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

With the deadline for entries set for the following day, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) entered Jonielle Williams in the 100m at Williams’ expense.

Notwithstanding the disappointing end to the season, she enjoyed tremendous success. She won the Austin Sealy Award for the second year running at the 2019 Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands in April after securing her second golden treble (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay) in as many years at the championships.

She also won the NACAC U18 100m title in Mexico in July and the Pan Am U20 title in Costa Rica later that month. She also won the 100m at the Greater Southwest Classic in New Mexico in early June in what was then a personal best 11.02.

Her coach, Ato Boldon, believes that Track&Field News’ recognition was a welcome one given the unfortunate end to the season.

“It feels good to be able to salvage something from what was for me a ‘lost’ season,” he told Sportsmax.TV on Thursday.

“It appears they will recognize her 10.94 as a national high school record as well. She was the dominant high school sprinter this year with five performances at 11.11 or better and a couple of sub-23s to boot, so I believe she has more than earned this one.”

He said that Williams stands to use this past season as a stepping stone for what is to come in 2020, an Olympic year in which she intends to make up for what could have been in 2019.

“She went to the World Championships in Doha and watched 10.9 and 22.5 win medals in the 100m and 200m. She knows she would have been a potential medallist this year because she ran 22.5 last year and 10.9 this year and she always sets PRs at championships,” he said, noting that there will be a difference in training this year.

For the first time in her short career with Born to Do It, Williams will be without her training partner, Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa St Fort, who parted ways with the club last season. So far, Boldon said, it has not affected the Jamaican speedster.

“This is the first off-season that she has started without a training partner to pace off of so I have been watching her carefully and she has responded well. I asked her if she thought that was lacking and she said ‘no, I am stepping up this season, I don’t need one.”




Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Battle for respect a never-ending fight for female gamers Battle for respect a never-ending fight for female gamers

    I love it when everybody wins. But, I really love seeing women win more.

    Elaine Thompson-Herah rediscovered her best form, after a tough three years battling injury, and captured our attention with a stunning performance last week, after winning the women's 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome.

    After the race, the double Olympic champion explained that the changes to the track season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed plenty of challenges. Nevertheless, she motivated herself and dug deep to find her best.  And I respect that.  We should all respect that.

    Female competitive gamers would love some of that kind of respect, but for them, it is a hard to find commodity. Their work environment is full of challenges, yet they often overcome numerous obstacles to achieve their goals regardless.

    Chiefly, male gamers often devalue their female counterparts. Competitive gamer Sashaun Bailey knows all about that.

    While playing Call of Duty mobile, male gamers assume Sashaun plays it for attention or she isn’t the one actually playing. Either way, they try to make her feel less than a ‘real gamer’.  It’s a common practice by male gamers, especially if women are playing on a smartphone. 

    Although the gaming world can be is a hotspot for harassment, for everybody, women often feel it more. Studies show that a female’s voice in the ‘Halo 3’ game is three times more likely to get negative comments than a male voice, regardless of performance. Sashaun can attest to that because once male players hear her voice, they instantly start firing nasty and rude comments in her direction.

    “I’ve gotten some pretty bad comments. I’ve gotten disgusting stuff, the racist stuff. I’ve been called the ‘N’ word... the ‘go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich comments'," she explained.

    In the gaming community, the abuse and derogatory comments directed at female players is called ‘flaming’.  But Sashaun has her way of dealing with it.

    “A lot of these guys try to distract me with their comments and their rude conversations, but I just stay focused and kill them. If I can’t, I mute the whole thing, so I won’t hear anybody.” 

    Sashaun isn’t alone in adopting that strategy. In most cases, female players conceal their identity to avoid harassment. According to Audrey L. Brehm(2013) research paper, Navigating the feminine in massively multiplayer online games: gender in World of Warcraft, many participants in ‘World of Warcraft’ pretend they have a malfunctioning mic to avoid participating in voice chat during a game.

    At the same time, when she’s not masking femininity, she’s embracing it.

    Sashaun admits to being a bit of a tomboy but she knows competitive gaming is a male-dominated sport and so, the majority of her views from live streams are from men.

    Knowing that fact often drives an effort to make their videos as appealing as possible for female gamers. Especially because viewers can donate money if they like what they see.

    “A lot of girls use their femininity as an advantage in different ways. For me, I like to keep things simple by exercising/staying in shape because naturally, people want to see a good-looking girl play games - especially if she’s really good.”

     Her video content ranges from playing games while lounging to dancing in tights. One viewer from Sashaun’s live stream opined, “it's less about the game and more about seeing the girls.”

    Winning for many female gamers looks like just like this: in the end, it comes down to redeeming feminine qualities that face ridiculously unfair scrutiny on a daily basis.

    However, there are growing concerns that female gamers oversexualising their content, and that it can influence how the gaming community sees women in general.


    Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!



  • 'A lack of respect and regard for stakeholders' - KSAFA demands resignation of JFF Technical Chairman Speid 'A lack of respect and regard for stakeholders' - KSAFA demands resignation of JFF Technical Chairman Speid

    The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has called on JFF Technical Chairman, Rudolph Speid, to resign from the post, citing what they deem to be multiple conflicts of interest.

    Speid was appointed to the post earlier this year, but KSAFA has pointed to several other post appointments that he also holds at the same time as problematic.

    “Currently you are a member of the Board of Directors for the JFF, Chairman of the Technical Committee, leads the operations of the JFF’s Coaching School, Chairman of the newly formed Jamaica Coaches Association, member of the Leadership of the Jamaica National Premier League (JNPL) and owner / major

    shareholder in Cavaliers Soccer Club.  This long list of involvement consists of clear lines of conflict of interest,” the letter stated.

    The letter went on to point out that, as it relates to Jamaican football, the conflicts have caused an inability to view ‘important policy matters objectively’ and also took umbrage to what has been deemed a ‘lack of respect and

    regard for stakeholders.’ The body has promised to escalate the matter to the Jamaica Football Federation if Speid refused to accede to the request.

  • Ashinia Miller produces 20-metre throw for bronze at Czech Republic meet Ashinia Miller produces 20-metre throw for bronze at Czech Republic meet

    Ashinia Miller said he enjoyed competing in the shot put at the Klando Hazi A Klandenski Memorial meeting in the Czech Republic last Thursday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.