Women's Track and Field signs Bianca Knight and Devon Williams to National Letters of Intent
AUSTIN, Texas -- Head women's track and field/cross country coach Bev Kearney announced the signing of two of the best high school runners in the nation, inking Bianca Knight (Ridgeland, Miss./Ridgeland High School) and Devon Williams (Eugene, Ore./Churchill High School) to National Letters of Intent (Nov. 1), during the early signing period that started Wednesday, Nov. 8 and ended Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Knight is arguably one of the top high school sprinters in the country. She is the reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year (women's track and field), a World Track and Field Championship silver medalist, a Track and Field News high school All-American and a national record holder.
Knight is the first Gatorade National Player of the Year from the state of Mississippi and only the second ever underclassmen (Marion Jones) to earn the selection. Knight was chosen in her junior year of high school.
Knight was the top sprinter in the state of Mississippi, winning a total of 12 state championships in three events (five in the 100, four in the 200 and three in the 400).
On the international level, Knight won the two gold medals at the 2005 IAAF Youth World Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, taking the top spot in the 100 with a time of 11.38 seconds and as a leg of the U.S. medley relay that clocked 2:03.93. She added a silver medal in the 200 with her 23.33 time, the fourth-fastest youth time in the world that year.
Her 2006 best of 11.26 placed her among the top 40 runners in the world (including high school, college and professional athletes) in the 100.
Knight has had a considerable amount of success on her home soil as the two event high school All-American (2006 - 100-meter and 200-meter dashes) cruised to the 200-meter title at the Nike Outdoor High School National Championships in early June. She recorded a 23.06, which was the fastest high school 200 mark in the nation at that time. She earned runner-up honors in the 100 with a final time of 11.63.
By the end of June of the 2006 outdoor track season, Knight had registered the fastest 100- and 200-meter times, clocking 11.40 and 23.06, respectively. Her time of 11.40 broke the Mississippi 4A state track championship bettered the existing record of 11.44 (2001 by Janice Davis, Natchez, Miss.).
On the indoor track, Knight is just as competitive, as she has four of the 12 best indoor performances of all time. In 2006, she ran the third-fastest high school 60-meter dash time (7.25) at the Simplot Games. She added her name to the girls' high school all-time 55-meter dash list, with her fifth-place time of 6.79. She also has the third fastest all-time 200-meter indoor race (23.26), behind Olympians Allyson Felix and Texas Ex Sanya Richards.
Knight was named to the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics team, qualifying in the 200-meter dash but ended her season with an injury at the Road To Eugene '08 meet.
Her running career was successful early on as Knight ran the fastest outdoor 200m time (23.06) ever by a high school freshman during the 2004 USATF Junior Olympics in Eugene, Ore. In addition to the 200m, she was also the 2004 USATF Youth Outdoor intermediate girls champion in the 400m (53.22). In 2003, Knight was name the female athlete of the meet at the USATF Junior Olympics in Miami, Fla.
Williams joins the Longhorns after competing at Churchill High School in Eugene, Ore., during her senior year and Towson Catholic High School in the years prior to her transfer. She set a national record in the 500-meter run with a time of 1:11.44 at the 2005 Virginia Tech Invitational. She also holds national freshman records in the 600, running 1:30.22 at the Metropolitan Athletics Congress High School Classic, and the 1,000-meter run, clocking 2:52.84 at the Virginia Tech invitational.
The two-time All-Metro Performer of the Year is on the all-time girls' high school indoor top five times list in the 500, 600 and 800 meter runs. Williams shattered the previous the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) Championships meet record of 42.1 seconds in the 300 by winning the race in 40 seconds. The 2005 Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year, also took the 1,600 (5:19.9) and the 3,200 (11:49.1) championships at the IAAM championships. Williams was a 2004 USATF Verizon Junior All-American after finishing in the top eight in the 800 meter run.
After transferring to Churchill high School in Eugene, Ore., Williams won the 2005 Churchill Cross Country individual title, running 20:36.5. She debuted on the track in the 400-meter dash with a third-place performance (58.97) at the XO Invitational.