Ziyah Holman ’20 Speaks to GDS Community and Discusses Departure from Michigan

Photo of Holman’s Gatorade Player of the Year banners. Photo by Rebecca Noland. 

Ziyah Holman is an All-American, a three-time track and field Gatorade Player of the Year, a five-time Big Ten champion at the University of Michigan, a 16-time DCSAA state champion and a world record holder. She also graduated from GDS in 2020. 

On Oct. 13, Holman returned to GDS, her alma mater, to talk to students, many of whom participated in track and field. During the event, she spoke about her journey to becoming a Division I champion, how GDS helped her succeed and her strategies for finding success in athletics and academics. 

At the University of Michigan, she holds the school record for both the outdoor 400-meter race and the indoor 4×400 meter relay. However, Holman had a rough transition from high school to college due to COVID. The pandemic hit during her last semester at GDS, and her freshman year was on Zoom, which was isolating, she said. She didn’t get to spend as much time with the track team because of COVID and quarantining. But she turned to mental health counselors who helped her finish the year strong. 

Holman graduated from Michigan early and is looking to run for another school while enrolled in graduate school. She said she enjoyed Michigan but is looking for something new and different. 

She expects that she will end up running for the University of Texas or University of Georgia. She is looking for a school in the South because she wants a warmer climate. She also hopes to run for the U.S. Olympic team and continue running professionally for the next several years. 

She also mentioned her desire to win, saying, “I never run to get second.” A pivotal moment in her career was during a 4×400 relay race in 2021 that went viral. During the race, she was four seconds behind her opponents, but she gave it her all and ended up overtaking the competition and securing first place. 

Holman competed in the 60-meter, 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, 600-meter, 800-meter, 4×100 meter relay and 4×400 meter relay events at Michigan. 

Holman credits much of her success to the school where she first started, GDS. She spoke highly of the school and its environment, saying, “I just love GDS because it’s such a family atmosphere here.” The people she met here and the values she obtained from the school have brought her a long way in her career and have helped mold the person she is today, she said. 

One piece of advice she had for GDS athletes was to embrace their nerves. She highlighted the importance of having teammates that you can lean on when you are nervous before a race.  

Aside from her gratitude for GDS, she credits part of her success to her mother, Rashida Holman-Jones. “I literally owe everything to her,” she said. Holman added that all her mom wanted her to be was a good person, and her love and trust helped Holman get to where she is today.