Zeniyah Lawrence Signs with Clemson

Zeniyah Lawrence Signs with Clemson
Posted on 12/08/2017

The best high school sprinter in the state likens Clemson’s track and field program to her hometown Wando team.

Wando senior Zeniyah Lawrence signed with Clemson on Tuesday. The six-time individual state champion has powered the Warriors’ girls track and field team to consecutive state titles the past two years.

“Clemson reminds me of Wando,” Lawrence said. “It’s a very diverse school that holds their students to a high standard, just like Wando.”

Lawrence is a two-time reigning state track and field athlete of the year. She’s won individual state titles in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the long jump the past two years. She set a state record in the 100-meter relay as a sophomore to help propel Wando to its first state championship in 40 years. She's part of just a small handful of athletes to ever win four events at a state meet.

“Zeniyah is the top sprinter in the state and looks to me to be following in the steps of Rebekah Smith, one of the best Clemson sprinters on the team right now,” Clemson track and field coach Mark Elliot said. “She is going to be a major contributor in sprints immediately.”

Lawrence was armed with unique insight into the Clemson program throughout her recruitment. Former high school teammate Angelica Collins, a 2014 Wando graduate, is a senior sprinter and jumper for the Tigers. Lawrence credits Collins for helping her navigate through the recruiting process.

“Another reason I chose Clemson is because of my former teammate Angelica Collins who’s now running for them,” Lawrence said. “She had nothing but good things to say about the school, track program and the coaching staff.

“The whole process was more hectic and stressful than I imagined. I wasn’t ready for the college coaches being as persistent and persuasive as they were, trying to sell their school to me. Signing those papers was more of a big relief than anything but I’m so happy that my mom doesn’t have to pay for my education so I mainly thank God for that.”

Lawrence was also attracted to the success Clemson athletes have had after college, namely in the U.S. Olympic Trials. The Tigers had seven athletes qualify for the Olympic Trials ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“Clemson stood out to me because they had females that qualified the Olympic Trials,” Lawrence said. “So I knew a few years ago that Clemson’s program was one of the most elite in the country.”

Now with the papers signed, Lawrence says she’s looking forward to focusing solely on her senior season. She has a few lofty goals in mind, both individual and team accomplishments, which she hopes will cement her legacy as one of Wando’s best ever.

“I have my eye on two state records, the long jump and the 200-meter dash,” she said. “I would also like to end my high school career with another team state championship. I don’t think there’s been any other girls team at Wando to win three in a row.”

Story and photo from The Moultrie News




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