Williams, who competes for Telluride High School, is the first Gatorade Colorado Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Telluride. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Williams as Colorado’s best high school boys cross country runner.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Williams joins an elite alumni association of past high school state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker, Kevin Garnett, Abby Wambach, and Mark Sanchez.
The 6-foot-1 senior raced to his third consecutive Class 1A-2A individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:26.03, leading the Miners to fourth place as a team. Williams is the fourth boy cross country runner in Colorado to win three State Cross Country titles. Williams also won the St. Vrain Invitational, the Ron Keller Invitational, the Delta Invitational and the Region four championship. He was 12th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships.
Williams has maintained a 3.30 grade point average in the classroom and has volunteered locally assisting the elderly and has served an officer of his county’s 4-H club.
“As a coach, I couldn’t dream of a better student-athlete to have on my team,” said Telluride head coach Keith Hampton. “Much of what he’s accomplished has come from his own personal drive and desire. In large part due to his efforts, the program has grown from nothing in 2008 to having nearly 30 kids out for the sport in 2011.”
Williams has chosen the University of Kansas as his destination next fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.