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The fastest woman in the world got her start at this Dallas high school

The sprinter who won the 100-meter world championship got her start at Dallas ISD’s Carter High School.

DALLAS — There is a seven-hour time difference between Dallas and Budapest, Hungary.

That meant the 10.65 seconds that Sha’Carri Richardson took to win the 100-meter dash and set a new world record in the process fell right in the middle of an English class De’Anna Watson was teaching at Dallas ISD's Carter High School.

As soon as her students left the room, Watson grabbed her phone and watched the race.

And then she choked up.

“It made me tear up a little bit just because I wanted this so bad for her. And I know she wanted it. She really wanted it. She’s been wanting this for years,” Watson said.

Watson is the assistant track coach at Carter. Richardson knew her before she changed her last name.

To the woman who now bears the “Fastest Woman in the World” title, Watson will always be "Coach Jones."

Watson was more than just a coach though.

She also taught Richardson’s freshman English class.

“She was brilliant,” Watson said. “She made herself known. She spoke out in class. She had high scores, and she was just focused.”

Standing beside the Carter track where Richardson used to race, Watson remembered a young woman with natural born talent, dedication and drive.

She showed up early to practice, listened, worked hard and then executed.

She won state titles for Carter and frequently returns to her alma mater to talk with students.

“Where she came from is where I’m at now. That means if she can do it, I can do it too,” said Inajia Jefferson, a two-time district champion hurdler at Carter.

Jefferson is a junior. She also competes in the long jump and triple jump.

She was in the room with her head coach during a FaceTime call with Richardson in the hours after her world championship run.

Richardson appeared Olympic-bound in 2021, but a positive marijuana test after her mother’s death disqualified her.

“It was heartbreaking because I know her struggle and I know what she’s been through and what she’s capable of,” Watson said. “To me it wasn’t that big of a mistake for the punishment. However, it was something that she learned from, and I knew she would bounce back.”

She didn’t just bounce back.

She flew back – upsetting the competition and setting a new world-record in the process.

The time difference meant a text Richardson sent to Watson arrived in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Once she read it, she didn’t mind her sleep being interrupted.

“I love you back. And thank you,” the text read.

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