Aug 5, 2021 - Sports
How Tampa's Hillsborough High cheered on Olympic phenom Erriyon Knighton
Hillsborough High School students and teachers cheer on Erriyon Knighton, who will be a senior in a few days. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

The fourth-fastest human on the planet over 200 meters will start his senior year at Hillsborough High School in a few days.

  • I kept thinking that as a crowd of HHS students, teachers, coaches and lunch ladies mingled in the old school's auditorium after watching Erriyon Knighton finish fourth against grown men on the world stage.

What happened: He ran a 19.93, finishing behind Canada's Andre De Grasse (19.62) and Team USA's Kenneth Bednarek (19.68) and Noah Lyles (19.74).

The big picture: Knighton is the youngest U.S. athlete to place inside the top 4 in an Olympic track event since Wilma Rudolph finished third in 1956's 4x100 relay at age 16, per ESPN.

Here at home: His teachers and friends were beaming at the watch party while they waited for the race to start.

  • Joseph Sipp stood off to the side, a smile on his face. He's the football coach who noticed Knighton's speed three years ago and encouraged him to join track.
  • What would Sipp tell young Erriyon? "Get a good start, and finish strong," Sipp told me.
  • Good advice for the school year, too.
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