Teen track star Candace Hill poses with the American Flag after a win.

If you don’t know who Candace Hill is, you will. This Atlanta teen is the fastest girl in the U.S. and the youngest track athlete in the country to turn pro.

How fast is fast? She ran 100 meters  in just 10.98 seconds last summer. Now, this 16-year-old track star has her sights set on Olympic gold this summer in Rio and a lot more eyes are on her.

So, what goes going pro while still in high school mean? Candace can get paid for racing competitively, right away, instead of running (for free) in college first before going pro. A high school junior, Candace is already making major moves. How major? She’s already signed a 10-year deal (!) with Asics, which will cover the full cost of her tuition at any college she attends. The upside? That is one great athletic scholarship. The downside? She can’t race with her high school team anymore and won’t be able to race at the college level. Instead, “she will enter the international professional racing circuit, competing for financial prizes against the world’s fastest runners.” Impressive, right?

Teen track star Candace Hill poses with the American Flag after a win.
Teen track star Candace Hill. Photo credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for IAAF

In the meantime, she’s still very much enjoying her life. She was voted to the homecoming court this year and has a 4.6 GPA (almost straight A’s most recently, except for Chemistry). She still plans to go to prom and will do schoolwork in between races at competitions. She seems to have it all ~ brains, standout talent and an incredibly bright future. But her life didn’t always look this way. Candace lost her very first race in high school, but she didn’t let that discourage her and she didn’t quit. She kept racing and she hasn’t lost a race since then.

Her natural talent and her training make an stoppable combination.

So what’s next for this rising superstar? Well, before her deal, she thought about going to a school with a strong sprinting program, like USC or Florida, and planned to study biology with the hopes of working in sports- either in medicine or as a journalist. She’s hasn’t decided yet what’s after high school. But what is clear is that she’s still going, still growing and still getting better.

“I still get nervous whether it’s a local meet or one on the world stage,” she said. “Because you never know what’s going to happen. You never know how much better you can get.”

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