Although her American coach observed slight flaws in her performance, Kristina Knott’s runner-up finish in the women’s 100 meters at the 93rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas early Sunday (Saturday in the US) wasn’t bad at all.
In a 3-way race and running in the outer lane 7, Knott finished second with a time of 11.54 seconds behind former University of Arkansas varsity mainstay Kiara Parker, a bronze medalist in the 2019 athletics world championships 2019, who topped the race in 11.20 seconds.
American Crystal Manning was third (12.52), while veteran Ashley Henderson failed to finish the race.
Former Philippine Sports Commission statistician Andrew Pyrie, who runs pinoyathletics.info, noted that Knott’s time equaled the gold-medal performance of Vietnamese sprint sensation Le Cu Tinh in the 30th Southeast Asian Games two years ago.
A double gold medalist at the 30th SEA Games, Knott was making her return to track in nearly seven months since booking a new national record of 11.27 seconds in running second at the Drake Blue Oval athletic competition in Des Moines, Iowa on August 30, 2020.
Coach Rohsaan Griffin, who has been the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association consultant since 2016 and has been overseeing Knott’s training, said Knott’s season-opening stint “was not bad per se,” although it was off the Olympic qualifying mark of 11.15 seconds.
“She (Knott) had a few technical flaws with the race setup, and had poor execution, but nothing to panic about,” Griffin said. “Consistently executing race models is the key for her future success. It can’t be hit and miss.”
He said that the former University of Miami athletic ace’s year-opening stint was just following in the footsteps of her development in 2020 as she moved from one meet to the other.
“We opened 11.51 last season then 11.52 and 11.27 so nothing to panic about there,” said Griffin, who also noted some positive signs in Knott’s initial race for the 2021 outdoor season.
“She needs to just execute it (the program). It’s there, trust me and we may see it in the next race next weekend.”
Based in Miami, Knott will feel comfortable in relatively familiar surroundings when she races in both the 100 and 200-meter sprints at the Pure Athletics Meet in Clermont, Florida in April.
She also owns the national record 200-meter record of 23.01 seconds to rule the event at the SEA Games in 2019, still off the Olympic qualifying mark of 22.80 seconds.
Knott is aiming to duplicate the feat of former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, who was the last Filipina runner to race in both sprint events in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.