Georgetown Day School's Ziyah Holman was subjectively the most improved sprinter in the Class of 2020.
Other sprinters may have cut more time. But Holman's improvement turned the corner on her career, from essentially being a very good athlete within her state to an elite-level one nationally.
specialist, No. 18 on MileSplit's ranking of the top 50 recruits in the senior class, entered the 2019 season with a personal best of 53.59 and finished
with a US No. 5 effort of 52.12 by the end of the campaign. On November 13, she'll culminate her wild recruiting process with a decision that she says might shock some people.
"It's going to be a surprise because I didn't just focus on track; track wasn't the only part in it," she said. "I found myself a home outside of track. People really won't understand until they're in my shoes."
Holman will announce her decision LIVE on MileSplit's Instagram account at 12:30 EST p.m.
But before that all happens, you have to go back to last year when it all started. Her breakout year began indoors with US No. 4 and US No. 3 times in
the 300m (38.53) and 500m (1:13.74), respectively, and then, after winning her fourth and fifth DCSAA
Outdoor Championship titles in the 200m and 400m, Holman went on to pocket a national title in the 400m at Brooks PR Invitational.
She finished the outdoor season ranked No. 27 on the MileSplit50.
At the end of
the summer, the senior was selected for the Pan American U20 team after
finishing third at the USA U20 Championships in the 400m with a new PR of 52.12. She went on to win gold for the U.S. in Costa Rica and set a new World Junior Record in 3:24.04 on the 4x400m relay, splitting under 52 seconds.
recruiting process the earliest she could, Holman was able to see an
undeniable shift in interest the more her indoor and outdoor seasons progressed.
"As I was
gearing up for indoor and I was running decent times and it was more, so Ivy's [are] interested," she said. "But when I started running top three, top four, top
five in the nation, that's when all the SEC schools started to come."
In September, Holman, who will return with the third fastest 400m in the country, announced her top six schools, and then she whittled that list down to four official visits: Michigan, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Clemson.
Holman put education above all other considerations, she said, due to her aspirations of practicing law in the future. She also believed during the recruiting process that a program with national
titles in collegiate track and field wasn't an important denominator.
"I just want to
have a good relationship with my coach, teammates and make that a priority for
me," Holman said. "As long as I felt supported where I signed and my coach had
my best interest, I'd be fine anywhere I went."
The Aggies recently
gained the commitments of two top 20 sprinters in the Class of 2020: Alicia
Burnett and Laila Owens. The Wolverines have
a large youth presence, but are looking to solidify dominance in the Big
Ten Conference -- on Oct. 30, No. 4 recruit Katelynne Hart announced
her commitment to the university.
Holman said she was surprised by how much she enjoyed her visit to Clemson. She said the coaching
staff was so sweet, the team was welcoming, and she was able to see things she
But she knows what she wants. She wants to be a part of a program that's going to
make her a better athlete, all-around.
"You can get
top girls, but where does your job come in as a coach if you're not developing
them," she said. "You can get fast girls out of high school, but are they
going to run the same times as they did before?"