The summer is hers. As the temperature rises so does Candace Hill, who has been dominating the track this year. Hill became the first high school female to break the 11 second barrier when she recently set a national prep record for the 100-meter at the Brooks PR Invitational with a time of 10.98 seconds.
Adding to a career already stacked with honors, Hill was named the 2014-15 Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year on Thursday. The Gatorade Player of the Year Program came down on Thursday and surprised Hill with the award.
"It was a great surprise," Hill said. "At first they were like, ‘The superintendent is gonna reward you with an award." And I was like, ‘OK it's gonna be like five minutes and I'll go back to practice.' Then we went in the technology building and they were like, ‘You have to sign some papers first,' and I'm like ‘what papers?' So then I said, ‘OK.' I come in the room and they're all like, ‘Surprise!' I said ‘Really?!' I didn't know. They had me fooled. It's been a wonderful ceremony."
"I'm feeling wonderful," Hill added.
The Rockdale News spoke with Hill two days before her award ceremony about how excellent her summer has been. We talk about her new record, if she can go faster in the 100 and more in this exclusive Q&A.
The Rockdale News: I talked to Coach [Venson] Elder recently and I didn't know you had 90-plus straight victories. Tell me about that accomplishment and what that means to you.
Candace Hill: That accomplishment feels really awesome because I didn't know until Coach Elder said that I won 90 races in a row or something like that, and it's just amazing because this whole season has been awesome. My freshman year I thought that nothing could top freshman year, but I proved myself wrong and I even showed out more sophomore year. So that's really awesome.
RN: You say that you showed out, and you really have. Obviously Saturday you set a world record and this year so far between girls I think you're the fourth all-time so talk about that accomplishment as well.
Hill: That accomplishment is incredible. I'm still in shock and the meet was three days ago. I still can't believe it, it hasn't hit me yet that I ran a 10.9. I was the first high school girl to do that. I'm proud of myself.
RN: I know that you're preparing for the world championships and stuff like that. I know you're raising money, so talk a little bit about how your summer's been going leading up to the world championships.
Hill: During the summer after I won state I ran in a few invitationals across the country and everywhere I went I placed first. That just prepared to to be up to the moment and hopefully I show out in Illinois. I raised money to go to trials and then once I make the team then U.S.A will take me to Cali [Colombia] and I hope I win gold there.
RN: So talk a little bit about your goals. I know you said you hope you win gold there, but talk a little bit about your goals for the world championships.
Hill: I may be able to go faster in the 100, but I feel like I've reached my goal in the 1 so let me save that for next season (she said laughing). But in the 200 I maybe want to break that world record and maybe be the first high schooler to run 21. I don't know, that's a big goal but 22 will be fine. I wanna run 22 with wind-legal times.
RN: So is there anything else you have your eyes set on as far as next year or the next couple years.
Hill: Me and my coach are planning on trying out for the Olympic Trials for Rio. He says I can make the team, but I personally don't think I can go against those professionals deal with the rounds... I don't know.
RN: You're the fastest high schooler all-time.
Hill: Yeah but I just wanna stay in school all the way through high school and go to college. I don't wanna go pro yet if they offer me and then maybe in my junior and senior year if they come back again I'll say yeah and then compete in the 2020 Olympics.
RN: Did you know you were going that fast when you found out you ran a 10.9? Did you know you'd broken a world record?
Hill: I knew I was going fast, but I didn't know it was a world record. So after I crossed the line the crowd was going crazy and I was like, ‘Why is everybody going crazy?' Someone ran up to me and was like, ‘Do you know your time? You just ran a 10.9!' So I'm like, ‘The clock has to be broken, something has to be wrong, the wind has to be illegal,' and so they were like, ‘It's legal wind and you hold the record now.' They had to test the blocks, the gun to see if it was right and then they tried to drug test me but they couldn't because it's not standard. I was shocked.
RN: Obviously you're still feeling that so what's it been like for you kind of on a high ever since then?
Hill: Everyone's been noticing me and people have been congratulating me, like Dwight Phillips and also this girl name English Gardner, she formerly held the record and so once she heard I broke it she commented under my picture on Instagram and was like, "Congrats," so I was like, "Oh my God." Yeah it's been an amazing experience. I've been getting a lot of attention from the media and the news.
RN: What's that been like for you? All of the attention and stuff. Do you appreciate it? Are you humbled?
Hill: I feel like I'm humble and I appreciate the attention and stuff. I don't let it get to me like, "Oh it's too much. I can't handle it." I just tell my story and it just feel amazing.