Walking down the competition in a track meet is the norm for Maryland native and Georgetown Day School graduate, Ziyah Holman.
The 2020 high school graduate and Michigan true freshman was among the nation’s leaders in the 400 meters over her junior and senior years of high school. So whenever called upon, which to be fair wasn’t very often, she was ready to make it happen. But this was supposed to be more difficult as she made her college debut on January 16th.
Holman made her debut very memorable, not only did she anchor the University of Michigan’s 4X400 relay at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational, but she also stalked down the competition as she’s done numerous times in high school.
Disposing of the competition wasn’t suppose to be this easy at the collegiate level, but for Holman, it’s a part of the process towards greatness. Holman put down a 51.79 split and made up a four-second deficit to pace the Wolverines in a time of 3:38.02.
Holman had this to say to the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily:
As the race keeps going you see yourself getting closer. Like oh my god, I’m actually getting closer.’Why would I try so hard and not try to win?
The program’s athletic department proceeded to post a video of the dazzling anchor leg shortly thereafter. It grew rapidly to nearly 4 million views in no time. Going viral has allowed the video to grab attention from outlets like Yahoo, the New York Post and more.
But this isn’t really all that surprising for someone like myself who’s followed this budding young track star since she was a “FROSH” in high school. In fact, in 2019 Holman was part of a World U20 record-setting 4X400 at the Pan American U20 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.
That same year, in June, she ran a personal best outdoor 400m mark of 52.12 seconds to place third at the USA U20 Championships.
Over her senior season, Holman eclipsed 54 seconds a total of five times. For her college debut that’s not all Holman accomplished either, as she would end up winning the 600m in a time of 1:29.27, securing the only sub-1:30 performance of the entire day.
That time currently stands at No.1 in the NCAA and among two just under 1:30 overall.
Holman says she received messages from Alex Ohanian and Serena Williams. It said keep up the good work and we will be cheering for you at the Olympics.
Serena has always been in the spotlight, so I feel as another woman of color, it was just amazing, Holman said. The frenzy didn’t stop as her phone blew up when ESPN sent an app alert about her relay. It isn’t lost on her this attention is uncommon for both the sport and people of color.
Michigan men’s head basketball coach Juwan Howard and players made it their duty to congratulate her on her unbelievable efforts and feats accomplished.
Holman goes on to also say that she’s so used to seeing basketball and football, and definitely not any young track woman of color on those pages, “so that in itself is pretty amazing.”
Finally, to put her 51.79 split into perspective, the qualifying time for Finals of the 2016 Olympic Trials for the 400m was 51.8.
She’s ready for the OLYMPICS.