WILLIAMS FINISHES CAREER NEAR TOP
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
Eastern Oregon senior runner Sean Williams is looking forward to this weekend's NCAA Division III National Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
"I'd like to be All-American again," he said in his quiet manner. "If the race is there, I'd like to be in the top three, if it happens."
Williams is seeded seventh in the 1,500 meters and sixth in the 5,000.
His confidence stems from a strong indoor season. Williams became a two-time All-American at the NAIA National Indoor Track and Field Championships in Johnson City, Tenn. He finished fourth in the 3,000 and ran on the sixth-place distance medley relay team.
His strong indoor finish does not surprise Eastern assistant track coach Ben Welch.
"He's ambitious," Welch said. "He's finally got to the point where he was not afraid to match the training and ambition with the races, and it's really paying off."
Welch spoke of Williams' earlier accomplishments.
"Indoor, he caught on fire," the coach said. "He's been on fire ever since. He's been running outstanding."
However, Williams' career has not been smooth as he dealt with injuries. He redshirted during the outdoor season of his sophomore year. Welch said he got a strange virus.
He injured his arch as a junior.
"That really set him back," Welch said.
Welch said Williams missed three or four months of good training.
"Pretty frustrating," Williams said. But the track athlete was determined to come back.
"What he's doing this year is very special because of the effort he's put in to get where he's at," Welch said.
The coach said Williams works hard, steps up and races hard.
"I kind of like to lead by working hard and inspiring," Williams said.
The quiet leader said the other 11 qualifiers have the "ability to do well" either at the NCAA III meet or the NAIA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Olathe, Kan., which also starts Thursday.
The business administration major has not decided what to do after graduation.
"I've been focused on my running right now," he said.
One thing that is certain is Williams zipping down that finish line.