GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's all a blur for North Carolina A&T senior sprinter Kayla White, who calls herself one of the best sprinters in the nation. She now has the hardware to back that up.
White became the first A&T track athlete to win an NCAA National Championship at the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala., taking the 200-meter race in 22.62 seconds to reclaim the fastest time in the world for 2019.
Saturday, White initially finished second in the 60-meter hurdle final to Southern Cal’s Chanel Brissett. She was disappointed but used that result as momentum for the 200m.
“I came into the 200-meter final with a chip on my shoulder because I felt the hurdles race was mine too. I really ran well in that race,” said White. “Going into the 200 race I just wanted to stay focus because I didn’t want to leave here without at least one national championship.”
White recorded the world’s fastest time in 2019 on Feb. 2 when she ran a 22.82 at the University of Arkansas’ Tyson Invitational.
“Kayla is a great athlete which we have seen time and time again,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “Our plan this year, her senior year, was to do this.”
“I wanted this moment so bad coming into my senior year. I wanted to make sure I stayed focused during the offseason,” said White. “I trusted my training and it is paying off. It really means a lot coming in here from an HBCU because you really don't see too many people coming from small schools and being able to compete against the Power Fives.
I wouldn't classify myself as just an HBCU sprinter though. I'm one of the best sprinters in the nation.”
White is a two-time first-team All-American in the 60-meter hurdles. She is also a first-team All-American in the indoor 200m and a second-team outdoor All-American in the 4x100 and 100mh. White has a combined 14 MEAC indoor or outdoor titles in her career.
White has recently named the NCAA Division I Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year as announced by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday.
“Once she got to the point where she was winning a lot, we had to teach her the importance of leading others,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs and the 2019 USTFCCCA Southeast Region women’s track and field coach of the year. “It was hard for her to understand at first – the need to be a leader on a track and field team. But we told her it’s important you serve your team. You get them to be their best while staying at your best. I’ve got to say she started to get it and she has done a wonderful job being our leader.”
White, who also earned Southeast Region women’s track Athlete of the year by the USTFCCCA.