She turned down track and field offers to Oregon and Arizona State. Why a Clarke Central star chose an HBCU instead
Justin Jones was a young coach in Carrollton when a phone call from his former coach informed him of a young girl that could run like the wind.
She was beating everyone at field day, boys and girls.
Jones wanted to meet her. He was introduced to a 9-year-old Lashanti Williams. Jones didn’t know at the time that he would be taking on more than a coaching role for the promising sprinter.
In the years since they were introduced Jones has become Williams’ legal guardian as well as her private coach and high school coach. Williams has turned her play time speed into a full-blown track career.
Williams, a senior at Clarke Central, is one of the top runners in the country. Jones says if she were a football or basketball player that she would be considered a ‘five star’ athlete. She recently recorded a long jump of 19-feet, 0.75 inches, ranking in the top 10 in the country this year.
DeSoto senior Ja’Era Griffin The North Carolina A&T signee ran the No. 1 time in the Dallas area in the 100 meters — 11.39 — which is tied for seventh-best nationally. She placed fifth in the 100 (11.52) and eighth in the 200 (24.64) at state, and she helped DeSoto to a third-place finish in Class 6A in the 4x100 relay. Griffin ran on DeSoto’s 4x100 relay team that broke the national record by running 44.24 to win the Class 6A state championship in 2019.