SARASOTA — Jammeria Higdon approaches every race with her head down.
She tries her best to not look forward for fear of what lies ahead.
But it’s not the competition that’s garnered the Sarasota High senior sprinter’s unconventional focus.
Rather, it’s the one aspect that has derailed in her the past — her start.
Higdon spent the latter part of the season working on the first 25 meters of her race in preparation for her final regional and state meets.
“My biggest downfall before was coming out of the blocks,” Higdon says. “I’ve gotten better, and it’s improved my time.”
With her trademark flashy knee high socks, Higdon cruised to the Class 3A-Region 3 title in the 100-meter dash April 25; she crossed the finish line in a personal best 12.18 seconds.
She also finished third in the 200 (25.72) to earn a berth in both events at the Class 3A state finals May 3, at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
“It meant a lot to me to be the regional champion,” Higdon says. “I ran a 12.2 in the prelims and I thought, ‘Did I really just run a 12.2?’ Then in the finals I ran a 12.18, which I was really excited about because it’s close to my goal of 11.9.”
Higdon closed out her prep career in her second state meet appearance. Under less-than-favorable weather conditions, Higdon finished 12th in the 200 (25.99) and 13th in the 100 (12.79).
It wasn’t the finish Higdon had been hoping for, but the experience of closing out her high school career at the state meet was one she’ll never forget.
“It’s means more this time,” Higdon says. “My sophomore year I choked in the 100 because I was really nervous. It’s more exciting this time around.”
Higdon began running as a freshman while living in Phoenix. Higdon had no intentions of running track until she showed off her speed during a kickball game.
One of the coaches took notice and signed her up for track.
“He handed me the paperwork, and I was like ‘Oh, thanks. Did you really just sign me up for a sport?’” Higdon says with a laugh. “My parents ran track in high school, but I never really thought about it.”
Higdon admits she was extremely nervous the first time she stepped onto the track; but after making it through a series of time trials, Higdon discovered she was destined to become a sprinter.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Higdon says. “After the time trials, I realized long distance wasn’t for me. I like the 100 meters because it’s quicker.”
It didn’t take long for word to get around that the freshman was getting ready to take the high school track world by storm.
“People kept coming up to me and being like, ‘Oh my gosh! You’re really good,’” Higdon says.
She continued her track career when she moved to Sarasota two years ago.
Throughout her high school career, Higdon captured county, district and regional titles in the 100, as well as a district title in the 200.
Now, with her high-school career behind her, Higdon is focused on the next phase of her running career, which she hopes will include running in college. Warner University in Lake Wales has offered Higdon a scholarship to run.
“It would mean a lot,” Higdon says of being a collegiate athlete. “That’s been a goal of mine, and it would get me one step closer to my other goal of running in the Olympics.”
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].