Marissa Williams ran into the history books on May 28, 2014 in the City Section Track and Field Championships at Birmingham High. In order to give her team a chance to defend its City title, the Palisades High junior did something no other girl in finals history had ever done: triple in the distance events. She swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter races, joining Belmont’s Roman Gomez (1985) and Marshall’s Andre Young (1998) as the only runners in section annals to accomplish that feat. “I was like ‘Bob, please don’t make me do the 800,” Williams said, referring to Pali High Coach Bob Macias. “I’d rather have just tried to break the records in the mile and two mile, but to go back-to-back-to-back… it’s pretty tiring.” Williams started off her triple crown quest with a convincing victory in the 1,600, winning by over 13 seconds in 4:57.88, just over one second off her record time of 4:56.60 the previous year. After a 40-minute rest, Williams was back on the oval for the 800, the race both she and her coach were most concerned about. For once, Williams didn’t take the lead from the start, hanging just off the pace until the final turn when she sprinted past San Pedro’s Bronwyn Bunnell to win in 2:15.75. Now two-thirds of the way to her goal, Williams got another hour-long breather and once the eight-lap race began, there was little doubt who would take first place. Williams beat runner-up Jassmine Macone of Granada Hills by almost 36 seconds, clocking 10:49.72 to complete the trifecta. “I know she wanted to go for the 1,600 and 3,200 records, but she’ll have another chance at them next year,” Macias said. “This was a one-time chance to do what no girl has ever done and she’s a team player.” Although the Dolphins fell short in their bid for a repeat, Williams staked her claim as the fastest female runner the City had ever seen. She left no doubt of that as a senior the following spring when she captured the 1600 and 3200 titles for the fourth year in a row, setting record times in both. She ended her Dolphins career with nine individual track titles and three more in cross country, breaking the course record her senior year before running collegiately at Cal.
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