She’s one of Springfield’s top hopes for a state track and field championship, and she wants to win badly.
Senior Jaslyn Williams wants to return to Jefferson City to run the 100-meter dash after finishing in second place as a junior in 2015.
“I’m very anxious, and I’m very anxious to get first as well,” Williams said. “It’s my senior year, It’s my last year running in the state track meet as a high schooler.”
Central coach Darrin Ankrom noticed a new attitude from the all-state sprinter at the start of the season.
“I’ve seen a different level of her this year — the preparedness, the wanting to come out and do great and pushing me to push her,” Ankrom said.
Williams won the 100-meter dash Thursday at the Girls Night Out meet at Parkview’s JFK Stadium with a time of 12.52 seconds. It’s the second meet of the season, and Williams ran just 16 hundredths of a second off the pace of her 2015 silver medal-winning time of 12.36 seconds.
“We’ve been working out a lot, so I’ve gotten more flexible. It just made me faster,” Williams said.
Williams also notched a pair of second-place finishes, one in the 200-meter dash and one in the long jump, where she started the day with a leap of 17 feet, 8.5 inches.
Williams returned to the long jump after a year away from the event.
“I did it my eighth-grade year, freshman year, sophomore year, and I stopped junior year. I don’t know why,” Williams said. “I think it’s helping me, actually, on the 100 because I get warmed up when I’m in the long jump, so it makes me run faster.”
There is another reason for Williams to return to the long jump. She plans to compete next year at the junior college level for Coffeyville Community College.
The Kansas-based Red Ravens won the Jayhawk Conference and placed fourth at the NJCAA national championships in 2015, and want Williams to sprint and long jump for them. Williams, who was Central’s leading scorer in basketball for the past two seasons, said she liked the campus and the track team’s proven success.
“It’s small and easy to get around, and they have a good track program as well,” Williams said.
But before she chases junior college athletics, Williams wants a gold medal from the Missouri state championships. Ankrom has been working with her to be a better race finisher.
“We’re trying to increase her stamina, a little bit more finish. She’s probably the best starter in the state in the 100 and the 200 and … we are getting her in a little bit better shape and a little bit stronger to finish,” Ankrom said.
Her sophomore year, Williams placed sixth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash at the Class 4 state championship meet.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association expanded track and field to five classes in advance of the 2015 season. Central was reclassified to Class 5, the class with the largest schools by student population.
Williams returned to the state meet as a junior in the short sprint events. She placed fourth in 200-meter dash and second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.36 seconds. Her time was just nine hundredths of a second slower than that of state champion Jahliah Clay of Blue Springs South.
It all builds up to this season and the quest for success in Jefferson City at the state meet.
“She’s going to graduate from Central as the most decorated athlete in any sport ever, but the only thing she’s going to be missing is that state championship if she doesn’t get it. She knows that, and that’s what she wants,” Ankrom said.