There was some frustration during the 2014 season for
The Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
senior sprinter was never beaten in the either the 100- and 200-meter dashes, yet she wasn't near the top of the national leader board as planned.
That was because all of her best marks were either wind-aided or when not windy, no equipment was available to gauge it.
So down on the rank and file Washington's name sat.
But she knew better.
"As long as the wind is good, tomorrow will be a very special day," Washington told MaxPreps during the California Interscholastic Federation state trials June 6 in Clovis. "Very special."
Washington proved prophetic, recording her third straight California double
, winning in lifetime bests of 11.22 seconds in the 100 and 22.96 in the 200, both national-best times for 2014. The marks weren't far off the national high school record marks of 11.14 in the 100, set in 1992 by Marion Jones, and 22.52 in the 200 by Allyson Felix in 2003.
Combined with her anchor leg on Poly's national-leading 400 relay (45.19), Washington finished with eight career California state gold medals, tying her with Felix for second place behind only Jones with nine.
When she crossed the finish line for the final time in the 200 final, the Oregon-bound sprinter threw her hands straight up into the air and made double Jackrabbit signs. It was the first time in her career she did so.
"I don't know why I finally did it," she said. "It was a spur of the moment thing. I knew it was my last race and once you're a Jackrabbit, you're always a Jackrabbit, so I had to do it."
She also led Poly, arguably the nation's top track and field female team, to its 14th state title. The 70 points scored were the second-most in state history, Poly's five wins were a state record and all made for a perfect sendoff to one of the nation's most renowned track and field coaches, Don Norford.
"It was a special night," Norford said.
All the accomplishments, records and speed have led Washington to being crowned the 2014 MaxPreps Female Athlete of the Year.
Speed is a giant asset in sport and no one in the country is faster. Few are as colorful — she changed uniforms almost every race — or as quotable.
"My day couldn't have gone any better," she said after the state finals. "For my name to go down as one of the greatest in California is amazing. I'm so grateful. … I thank all my coaches and teammates for believing in me. They took the weight off my shoulders. … To know that all my hard work has paid off and to show people all around the country that I can do this, it's just been amazing."
Washington had some very tough competition for the award, including a competitor in her own sport.
Other finalists: A'ja Wilson, (Heathwood Hall Episcopal (Columbia, S.C.) basketball:
The 6-foot-4 senior had absolutely gaudy numbers: 34.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 steals and a 68 percent shooting percentage. The MaxPreps National Girls Basketball Player of the Year
, she's been compared to WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne. She led her team to a state title and is headed to South Carolina. Alexa Efraimson, (Camas, Wash.) cross country, track and field:
The Gatorade National Cross Country Athlete of the Year, Efraimson, only a junior, backed that up by recording a national high school record in the 1,600 at 4:33.29. She's also the national leader in the 1,500 at 4:07.05. Courtney Eckenrode, (The Woodlands, Texas) volleyball:
The MaxPreps National Volleyball Player of the Year
led The Woodlands to a 45-0 record and MaxPreps national title by averaging 9.8 assists and 3.2 digs per game. She also served at 93 percent and had 35 aces. She'll play next season at San Diego State.
Johanna Grauer, (Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) softball:
The UCLA-bound righthander led the Dons to a MaxPreps national championship by going 27-0 with a 0.51 ERA and just 60 hits allowed in 191 innings. She struck out 290 and walked just 49. She also was the team's top hitter at .429. Past MaxPreps Female Athletes of the Year2012-13 — Missy Franklin,
Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.): swimming2011-12 — Missy Franklin,
Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.): swimming
2010-11 — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis,
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.): basketball2009-10 — Chiney Ogwumike,
Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas): volleyball, basketball2008-09 — Jordan Hasay,
Mission College Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.): cross country, track and field2007-08 — Nneka Ogwumike,
Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas): volleyball, basketball