In the 800m Watson ran comfortably through the first 400 meters, content to position herself in third place as the leader went through at 1:03.36. On the backstretch she moved up gradually before making a strong move with 200m to go to take the lead going into the final curve. Watson came into the home straight with a small lead and managed to keep that lead to the line, winning the gold in 2:03.54, a lifetime best. As she crossed the line she dropped to her knees in a moment of celebration and exhaustion. She is the second American to win the event (Ajee’ Wilson in 2011). Her time makes here the second fastest high school New York performer ever behind Mary Cain and #14 on the all-time U.S. high school performance list.
Following the victory she had to quickly recompose herself in preparation of the mixed sex 4x400m relay that took to the track just over an hour afterwards. The teams were made up of two boys and two girls with teams allowed to decide the running order. Watson was teamed with Lynna Irby (Indianapolis), Keshun Reed (Arlington, Texa), and Norman Grimes (Canyon, Texas). Running the anchor leg, Watson received the baton with a large lead and ran a 53.1 spilt to bring Team USA across the line in 3:19.54. South Africa finished second just edging Canada as both teams stopped the clock at 3:23.60.
QUOTES FROM WATSON
On her race and strategy
“I went in really nervous and scared, but I was doing what I needed to do to win and hoping to get a personal best. I did both, so I’m really happy with how the race went.”
On her last lap when she made the move and the battle to the finish
“I just tried to remain calm and not try to tense up to try to speed up and accelerate. I just tried to relax and keep pumping my arms, and just hold on and hope that I would finish.”
On strategy for time with her coach
“We’ve been trying to race to win and hope that the time will take care of itself. I like being on the outside of lane 1, so I would be able to react to anything and not get boxed in.”
IAAF race report and results