For a list of the other Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year, click here
THE WINNER: Jayla Kirkland
School: Woodlawn (Birmingham, Ala.)
Athletic achievement: She set a state record of 23.65 seconds in the 200-meter dash and won another pair of Class 6A individual state championships this spring. Kirkland also captured gold in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.80 seconds and won the 400-meter run in 57.18. She finished third in the 200 and fifth in the 100 at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships.
Academic excellence: Kirkland has maintained a 3.43 GPA.
Exemplary character: Also a talented musician and a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, she has volunteered locally on behalf of youth summer camps.
“It’s exciting and shocking to see how successful Jayla was this year,” said Woodlawn head coach Myra Hawkins. “She improved every time she stepped on the track. She’s still growing, and I think she’s good enough to make the Olympics someday.”
THE FUTURE: Kirkland will be a sophomore this fall.