Candace Hill is the fastest girl in the world. With her time of 11.30 seconds in the 100-meter in April, Hill recorded the fastest time in the world for her age group according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Hill was at a loss for words when asked what it felt like to be No. 1.
"It means a lot to me. Knowing that I was probably ranked like No. 300 to now the fastest in the nation and maybe in the world. It just...oh, wow. I can't even explain how it feels. Knowing that all my hard work has paid off and that this is actually...it feels great. Better than great," Hill said.
Hill continued her dominance on the track last week at the GHSA state championships where she broke her own state records in the 100m (11.34 seconds) and 200m (25.03 seconds) dashes.
To think that Hill didn't even know the talent she had when she was outrunning her classmates in elementary school in field day events.
"Wow, she's fast," Hill says parents would say back then.
Some parents approached Hill's mom, Lori Hill, and asked her if Candace ran summer track. At the time, Lori didn't know what summer track was. She decided not to let her daughter run in elementary school because she didn't want her to end up hating the sport before she was 12. In hindsight, Lori made the perfect decision.
Candace began running track in seventh grade. At the time she wasn't the fastest girl on the team, another girl was. But when that girl got injured Hill realized the talent that she had and she's been running ever since.
"When she first started running in seventh grade she didn't really pay much attention to her form or her technique she just had raw speed and she was flying up the track. But then she realized to drop her shoulders, tuck her elbows in and run a smoother race. So I've seen her really go from a secondary runner to an elite runner so that was exciting," Lori said.
"The passion increased because now that I see that I have the potential to make it far in this sport then I'm really putting more effort into practice and stuff. I feel like pursuing this going into college and maybe professionally," Candace said.
Candace is more than just an athlete she's an exceptional student with a 4.7 GPA. Candace wants to be in the Olympics in 2020, but this summer she'll attempt to make the IAAF world youth team where they take the top two girls in the U.S. to compete against girls from around the world. Candace sees this as a stepping stone to the Olympics.
"People don't stress that enough. How important it is to keep her grades up. I'm pleased that she was able to juggle both and maintain," Lori said.
"I feel as though she may be ready in 2020 for the Olympics," Lori said. "If she's able to try out for 2016 it would be a good learning experience. That way she kind of will understand what the process is and what is expected of her, but I'm all behind her. If she wants to go to the Olympics in 2020 I'm there."
Candace says that her long-term goal is college and possibly running professionally, but for her high school career she wants to continue to break records.
"I'm just focused on that finish line and that time. I'm not worried about nobody else. By the time I get out the curve I want to be in front, that's my motto. I just focus on the finish line and I hope no one passes me," Candace said.
Lori says that she likes that her daughter is a scholar athlete and hat she could see her running college track.
"I think for me the most important thing is that I tell Candace to stay humble with it all," Lori said. "I really feel as though it's a gift that she has and that she needs to treat it accordingly because one injury and pretty much she's out of the game. As long as she realizes that her blessings come from God, that it's a gift and that she doesn't feel as though no one can beat her. Stay humble and stay modest. I think she'll go far."