Nakia Williams was hungry to jump again.
After a long and successful indoor track season, the Southampton senior decided to take some time off from his signature event, the high jump. Not too much, though. After all, he still had a spring season to prepare for. Before his high jump training ratcheted up again, the versatile athlete wanted to focus a little more on long and triple jump.
But, old habits die hard. Athletes who excel exceptionally at an event usually have a very personal passion for it — and Williams is no different. He wanted to get back in the habit of height again, and he did just that Saturday.
Williams cleared six feet, four inches and bested Huntington’s Kyree Johnson in a jump-off to win at the Dennis Walker Championship Classic at Huntington High School.
Williams said that the time off from high jumping, roughly a month he estimates, led to some rustiness early in the event.
“I think I finally felt good on my last attempt (of the jump off),” Williams said. “I got back into it at 6-3. We both cleared higher heights, 6-4 on our first attempt. But, I still was hitting the bar. In certain places, I didn’t feel good. But, I cleared my 6-3 jump completely and it felt like a good jump.”
Williams and Johnson also battled in the long jump, with Johnson flying 21 feet, 7 1⁄2 inches to take the title. Williams went 21 feet, 6 3/4 inches, a personal best he said, and placed second.
Williams wasn’t the only athlete to use the early-season meet as a bit of a ‘jumping off point’ for the rest of the season. Half Hollow Hills West’s Jovahn Williamson, who said he will primarily run the 400 meters this season, won the 200 in 22.21 seconds.
“I was running pretty relaxed,” Williamson said. “I felt good before the race. I got a good warm-up in and, throughout the whole race, felt nice and smooth. It just went well for me.”
Although not his main event, the race gave Williamson a look into how his next few 400s may unfold.
“The 200 is very similar to the 400,” he said. “It’s half of the 400, but you have to run the same way - nice and relaxed. The 400 is all about pacing. As long as I stay relaxed in the 200, once I move to 400 speed, it should translate pretty nicely.”
Williams also ran a 49.6 second anchor leg on Half Hollow Hills West’s winning 4X400 relay team. Nick Duchatellier, Alex Messina, and Corey Parkins rounded out the group that won in 3:27.90. Cameron Wolk, also of Half Hollow Hills West, won the 1,600 in 4:55.40.