Briyana Carter Adds to Speedy Legacy at Roosevelt
When Roosevelt’s Briyana Carter broke the tape at the finish line of the 100 meter dash in the Iowa State High School Track & Field Meet Saturday at Drake Stadium, in a way she was running the anchor leg in a relay that started in 2011. Not exactly sprinter speed but it could hardly have happened any faster.
How so? Carter is the latest in a growing line of fleet-footed Roosevelt sprinters. In fact, she’s the fourth Rider runner in the last five years to win the State 100m title, following in the fast footsteps of Erin Hawkins (2011), Agnes Sayeh (2013) and Jalynn Roberts-Lewis (2014). Hawkins now runs for the University of Minnesota while Roberts-Lewis is on the Illinois State University track and field team
Before that trio came Lolo Jones in 2000, Kim Carson in 1990 and Natasha Kaiser in 1984-85. Carson later became an NCAA champion. Both Kaiser and Jones ran in the Olympics. Carter hopes to run professionally someday. You could say she’s on track so far.
Carter’s well aware of the Roosevelt legacy and embraces it as motivational instead of shying from it as added pressure. (NOTE: In addition to Carter winning the title on Saturday, she also set a new high school record during the preliminary race on Thursday with a time of 11.95 seconds.)
“It’s an honor to be part of the tradition,” she said Saturday, shortly after adding her name to the list of state champs. “I’m glad I could keep it going.”
But there’s another famous female sprinter she maybe most resembles, one not from Roosevelt. Florence Griffith Joyner was an Olympic gold medalist for the United States in 1988 who set records that still stand. Many consider her the fastest woman of all time. Besides her blazing speed “Flo-Jo” was also famous for her signature look that included colorfully-painted fingernails, fastidious makeup and long, flowing hair.
On Saturday Carter managed a pretty convincing imitation in terms of both velocity and appearance. Before the race she was off by herself, draped in full warmups, loosening up and putting on her race face. But afterwards she was the center of attention, beaming and beautiful.
“I could hear my mother yelling coming down the stretch,” she told reporters. “I don’t know exactly where she was up in the stands, but I swear I could hear her voice.”
Only a junior, look for Carter, and Roosevelt, in the winner’s circle again next year. She looks good there, and right at home in her Rider togs.