Timeout Girls Track: West Side’s Antonise Christian a quiet force
GARY — Antonise Christian speaks very softly and in a quiet voice that you have to pay special attention to hear, the kind of speech pattern you’d expect from a high school freshman.
Veronica Williams, Christian’s coach at West Side, summed it up well when she said: “She’s very shy and she doesn’t like to talk very much.”
But when Christian is out on the track, this sprinter from West Side doesn’t need to say anything. That task falls on those who try to describe the incredible talent she possesses.
All it took for Christian to announce her presence on the high school track scene was one competition back in April: a double dual meet with Morton and Lowell.
Christian ran a blistering time of 55.48 seconds in the 400-meter dash, winning the race by almost nine seconds. Her time remains the best mark in the area by nearly four seconds and would’ve placed her in second at last year’s state finals. But it wasn’t a shock to those who had seen her run before.
“We saw her run (the 400) in 56 seconds in middle school; we knew she was going to be great,” Williams said. “But she’s a humble girl; she doesn’t take anything for granted.”
That time also put Christian into the top 25 of all-time scores in the 400-meter dash in the state. Not bad for an athlete that’s only been in the sport for four years.
“I really wanted to run track when I was little,” Christian recalled. “My mom tried to find me some track teams and when I was in sixth grade, she found one.”
By summer 2013, Christian had worked her way into four events at the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic Games held on the campus of Eastern Michigan University: 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay.
“It was kind of scary,” Christian said of facing that level of competition, “but it was still fun at the same time.”
This spring has seen Christian’s competition confined to the state of Indiana as she began her first year of high school track.
“It was a little bit more challenging; it got me more motivated,” Christian said of her freshman season. “There’s more competition than there was in middle school.”
But similar to those middle school results, Christian has repeatedly been first across the finish line. At that double dual meet in April, she also won the 100-meter dash (12.61) and helped lead two relays to victory: the 400-meter relay (49.80) and the 1,600-meter relay (4:08).
At last Tuesday’s Lowell Relays, Christian added victories in the 100-meter dash (12.63), Sprint Medley Relay (1:49.17) and the 400-meter relay (50.08).
Christian will need another big day next Tuesday, when West Side kicks off its postseason at the Highland Sectional. It will likely be another busy day for Christian with multiple events involved, but the 400-meter dash appears to be her signature event. She also has an ideal coach in Williams, who was an Olympic Time Trials finalist in the 400-meter dash in her running career.
Regarding Christian’s future, Williams offered this simple sentiment: “It’s going to be real interesting.”