Hillsborough’s Resident Olympian Strives for Gold at Final Race

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Asher Montgomery

Students cheer on Knighton as he crosses the finish line.

On Monday, Tampanians and Hillsboreans patiently waited for the debut of their hometown athlete, Senior Erriyon Knighton, as he made his way to the starter block of his first Olympic heat. The starter pistol sounded off, and suddenly he was off. Knighton seemingly glided to the finish line and won first place in his heat with a time of 20.55 seconds.  

Prospects were looking high for Knighton on Tuesday, as he once again prepared to compete in the men’s 200-meter semi-final. Tampa stopped its usual hustle and bustle to silently wait and see what would happen next. Knighton soon made his way to the front of the line, outrunning fellow Olympic athletes from Canada and Qatar. He — again — made it to first place. However, beating the time of his previous race, he ended with a time of 20.02 seconds.    

The miraculous feats of this 17-year-old from Tampa has continued to amaze Hillsborough residents and onwards. So, on the early morning of Wednesday, it was no surprise to witness Hillsborough teachers, staff, friends, and students coming to support their resident Olympian in his final race.  

The auditorium was buzzing with action.  Hillsboreans alike were waiting intently for the moment they would see one of their very own on the big screen. As soon as Knighton’s name appeared for the final 200-meter race’s lineup, the crowd began rallying. Seeing a fellow Terrier’s name under the Olympic title was enough to fill the auditorium with pride.  

Soon, the athlete’s introduction was due. The cheers from the crowd were deafening as Knighton appeared and made his way to his respective lane, apace with fellow competitors.  

When Knighton took his stance, the audience fell to a deep quiet. “I was just so nervous for him. It must be so scary not having anyone in the stands for him being on that big stage,” English teacher Catherine Morrison said.   

As soon as Knighton crossed the line, the crowd erupted in cheers. He placed fourth with a time of 19.93 seconds in the final alongside fellow American athletes Noah Lyles and Kenneth Bednarek—Knighton shaved 0.09 seconds off from his last heat. 

At the end of the race, the auditorium began applauding Knighton with many “Go Big Reds” and other bouts of encouragement.  

Hillsborough Terriers around the world are overjoyed with Knighton’s achievements in this year’s Olympics. They are sure that Knighton will continue to make Hillsborough proud for years to come and hope to see him compete again in the future.