Fewer than ten minutes into her college reveal event during lunchtime today, GDS senior and national-caliber sprinter Ziyah Holman pulled a blue hat with a bolded yellow “M” out of a box. After being recruited to dozens of institutions and posting her top six schools in September, Holman announced today that she will attend the University of Michigan. The audience’s loud applause lasted for 30 seconds.
The event—held in the library and publicized to the student body in an email last week from Athletic Director David Gillespie—was well-attended by students, faculty and Holman’s friends and family.
“Everyone in the school has helped me become the person that I am and I really appreciate you guys,” Holman said about the crowd.
At the front of the room, Holman sat in front of a GDS Athletics backdrop flanked by GDS track and field coaches Anthony Belber and William Miezan. The running news website Milesplit, which has covered Holman’s rise and her college search on its website, livestreamed her reveal on Instagram to viewers nationwide.
Head coach Belber read from a summary he wrote describing Holman’s many accomplishments before saying, to much laughter and applause, “and that was written before she went and set a world record.” (This past summer, Holman ran as part of the United States’ under-20-world-record-holding 4×400 meter team at the U20 Pan American Athletics Championships.)
“She deserves to be proud—not just of her talent, but of the work that she puts in to get here,” Belber said. He also thanked the numerous college coaches who have recruited and invested time to learn about Holman. “I think in the end, they showed faith not only in what she has done, but what she can do and what she will do.”
According to Gillespie, GDS has traditionally held reveal and signing events for outgoing seniors who have received athletic scholarships to Division I schools. Holman’s today was the first such event in “a few years,” Gillsepie said.
Holman said of her college decision in an interview with Milesplit, “It’s going to be a surprise because I didn’t just focus on track; track wasn’t the only part in it.” Today, in an interview with The Augur Bit, Holman explained she saw in Michigan’s track team a “family dynamic” similar to the track team at GDS. Michigan also offers outstanding academics and a full opportunity for her to focus on her education as a student-athlete.
However, Holman said that the final choice between Michigan and UCLA was difficult and ultimately came down to the universities’ respective distances from home.
Belber said in an interview after the event, “I think Ziyah might help lead a resurgence in [Michigan’s] sprinting core that will balance their reputation as a distance school.”
“It makes me feel so excited because now I can start a legacy of my own at a school that isn’t known for sprinting,” Holman said.
David Gillespie said Holman is “bringing GDS athletics to the forefront.” Next fall, as Holman moves on to hit the ground running at Michigan, she will leave behind an unwavering legacy at GDS.