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Maryland woman goes viral after shattering records in collegiate track debut

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Freshman Ziyah Holman stuns in her collegiate debut during the{ }Simmons-Harvey Invitational on Jan. 16 (Image: University of Michigan Athletics)

Four seconds. It's not a lot of time. For some, it's practically nothing.

On Saturday, for Ziyah Holman, it turned out to be everything.

In the final race of the Simmons-Harvey Invitational, the University of Michigan freshman made up a four-second deficit in a jaw dropping 4x400 win.

"I guess my first meet was amazing, much more than I expected honestly," the 18-year-old said with a laugh Thursday. "I left the track pretty satisfied with my performance - but I had no idea what was going to come next."

Seconds. The sports world lives on seconds. Holman's rally only took 51.79.

"Honestly, the 4X4 is always the last race, so I've done what I needed to do in my previous races. It's like - leave it all on the track and do what you have to do," the Georgetown Day School graduate said. "I don't care if your legs fall off, just run as fast as you can - and that's probably why I ran so fast."

What came next was an onslaught of praise, shock - and retweets. Her performance made it on SportsCenter, The New York Post, ABC News. People Holman doesn't even know shared her talent and raised her up.

"It's been amazing, people are so supportive, it's just been an amazing experience to just get recognition and stuff," Holman said.

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One recognition, however, made a big impact. Alexis Ohanian, the husband of Serena Williams, messaged Holman on Twitter.

"I was like, 'Hold on, am I seeing this correctly?'" Holman said. "I checked the page, and I saw Olympia their daughter and I'm like, 'Oh my God, this is them.'"

Ohanian and Holman messaged back and forth before he and Williams wrote, "Keep up the great work, we will be cheering for you at the Olympics."

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"Serena has always been in the spotlight, so I feel like as another woman of color, it was just amazing," she said.

Holman said the frenzy is shocking in more ways than one; her male friends blew up her phone when ESPN sent an app alert about her relay. It isn't lost on her this attention is uncommon for both the sport and people of color.

"I'm so used to seeing basketball and football, definitely not any young track women of color on those pages, so that was pretty amazing," she said.

The day wasn't just about that stunning race, either; Holman dominated in her first-ever 600-meter distance with a time of 1:29.27. She won that race by four seconds, setting the fifth-fastest time in the world, the fastest-ever debut by a Michigan woman, and the fastest time ever run in the state of Michigan.

Those are just a few of the records set Saturday by the 2021 NCAA 600-meter leader. For Holman, it's just a matter of zoning in and leaving it all out on the track.

"Four seconds, yeah it's astounding ... but when you do it, you're in the race and the adrenaline is there."

Watch the full press conference with Ziyah below.