Williams displays endurance and leadership during cross country


As a pack of high school students head out onto the road or on the course with their shoes tied, legs stretched, full of energy, motivation and maybe some sweat, one runner stands out from the rest.

Although physical size may not be the unique factor about junior cross country runner Caleb Williams, it’s his character and success that makes him a one of a kind.

Williams started his running career in third grade after some encouragement from a teacher to run the annual Arrows to Aerospace downhill mile. Cross Country soon became something he loved in middle school after multiple wins and accomplishments.

“My favorite part about running and competing is just being able to keep chipping away at a time and being able to see myself get better,” Williams said.

In the 2016 cross country season Williams placed high enough in districts to compete at the state meet where he ran a personal record of 17:44

Through this success, Williams still remained humble with a strong sense of team leadership.

“He gets along with everybody, accepts others for who they are, and takes things as they come, all the while working relentlessly to be his best self every opportunity he gets,” head cross country coach Leigh Officer said.

Williams said he has many goals in mind like competing in state this year again, and eventually placing his senior year. Along with these another goal of his is to overcome the obstacle of anemia.

Williams was diagnosed about a month into the cross country season with Iron deficiency anemia.

Iron deficiency Anemia is a condition where the body lacks enough iron and red blood cells so the body can’t produce enough oxygen for it’s muscles. In Williams case this was caused by overrunning where it caused trauma in his ankles which eventually spread to the rest of his body.

His team knew something was wrong when he was barely able to finish his meet one week where his legs “gave out.”  

“It put a huge dent on my times this season and continues to,” Williams said. “So hopefully I’ll be healthy by districts and be able to qualify.”

As painful as it is to run, Williams has not ceased training hard and working towards his end goal.

“They put me on iron supplements pills and I can kinda feel them working,” Williams said. “I definitely have to take it easy but I’m still out there running and getting the distance in.”

With taking healthy precautions, Officer remains confident in Williams’ ability.

“What I love most about Caleb is how easy-going he is on the outside but strongly driven on the inside,” Officer said. “He’s like a Chevy Cruze with a V8 engine.”

Williams older brother, Bryson Williams has been been able to see his motivation first hand by training with him the last two years as a member of the Bellevue West track team.

“Caleb has grown a lot more confident as a runner in the past three years and has really cemented himself as the leader and center of Bellevue West distance running,” Bryson said.