Calabasas junior De'Anna Nowling needed to run the fastest time of the season to win the 100-meter title at the 100th CIF-State Track And Field Championships last June. (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)
CALABASAS -- The above imagine captures Calabasas High junior De'Anna Nowling in the micro seconds after crossing the finish line with the 100-meter title at the 2018 CIF-State Track Championships.
The field Nowling had defeated included defending champion Ariyonna Augustine of Long Beach Poly (now at LSU), her dear friend and longtime sprint rival, Jazmyne Frost (who would lead Gardena Serra to the State team title that day), and the previous fastest girl in the California, Stockdale's Aaliyah Wilson (now at Washington).
Nowling's reaction to her stunning victory was a jumble of emotions beyond what was obvious. Within a few more steps she would be down on the track, crouched and crying.
"At first I was happy," Nowling said recently, recalling the emotion, "and then I looked over and seen his mom and got on the ground and started crying. Everybody thought it was because I won, but I seen his mom."
Nowling, 17, the youngest of a large and complicated family, says her fallen siblings talk to her in her sleep. De'Anna talks back when she's awake.
"It's different every time," she said. "If I'm feeling nervous, 'Man, I'm nervous. Help me out.' Before I walk on the track I talk to God. But when I'm on the track, I talk to my sister and brother.
"At the line, if you see me looking up or looking down with my eyes closed, I'm talking to them."
Another way Nowling says she honors the memory of her siblings: "I run."