April 23, 2013 10:33:58 AM
Sickness isn't an impediment for Micheal Williams.
That's because the West Lowndes High School junior has sources of motivation -- namely his grandmother, Leola Sherrod, and his father, Curtis Sherrod -- that help him push through congestion and cold-like symptoms.
Williams, who lives with his father, said his grandmother, who lives down the street, walks every day, so he gets out and does his running then to get some exercise.
"I always push hard to help her out and my dad," Williams said.
Williams pushed a little harder Friday, winning two individual events and finishing second in another and running the anchor leg in the 4x100-meter relay team that also took first at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A, District 5 meet at Winona High. Williams won the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches) and the triple jump (38-3 1/2), took second in the long jump (19-10), and teamed with Eric Harris, Shaquille Sharp, and Jevontrae Williams to win the 4x100 relay with a time of 46.16 seconds.
For his accomplishment, Williams is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"I feel good," Williams said. "My grandmother is proud every time I bring the ribbons and the medals home, so I have to do that to keep her happy. ... I am just trying to do better for our school."
Williams said he has felt sick with cold-like symptoms for about two weeks. He said Monday he still has congestion in his throat. He said he felt that congestion at the meet and that it slowed his speed and his breathing, but he said he tried to push harder. His performance reflected that perseverance and helped the West Lowndes boys win the district title.
Williams transferred to West Lowndes from Mitchell High in Memphis, Tenn., where he competed on the school's boys basketball and track and field teams. He was a punter on the West Lowndes High football team this past year, as well as a member of the Panthers' boys basketball team.
Last year at Mitchell High in Memphis, Tenn., Williams finished second in the triple jump (41-6 1/12), third in the high jump (5-8), and sixth in the long jump (20-8 1/2) in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Class A-AA Sub-Sectional meet. He went on to finish seventh in the triple jump at the TSSAA A-AA West Sectional.
West Lowndes boys track and field coach Anthony King acknowledged Williams hasn't reached those levels but has come close. In a meet earlier this season at Tupelo, King said Williams was close to 22 feet in the long jump and the missed the board by about two inches. He feels Williams has the potential to reach the marks he hit last year and go longer.
"Mike is a competitor," King said. "He willed his way through it. In the long jump, the guy got him on the last jump. We feel good about going into the next meet.
"I think Mike has a good shot of winning state in the long jump and triple jump. He has been doing everything by being natural. He has been playing a lot of basketball, so he hasn't been working his legs as much, but the competition is getting a little better as the year goes on, so he has to start putting in a little more work."
King said it will be important for Williams to get into the weight room to build strength and to get on the track and do more running to build his endurance and reach his potential. He thanked the coaches at Columbus High for allowing Williams and the rest of his athletes to use their facilities so they could get the right kind of practice.
"He is a good athlete," King said. "He is probably our second best runner who have in the relays."
King said he plans to move Williams from the 4x100 relay to the 4x200 team. The 4x200 team finished second on the district meet. King said Williams is a "good student of the game" who has picked up the ability to compete on a relay team quickly. This is the first season Williams has competed in relays. He also credits Williams for helping show teammate Anthony Liddell some of the techniques in the jumping events.
Williams felt his performance in the triple jump was his best. He said he is getting his speed, his steps, and his timing down and is primed to do even better in the coming weeks. The Class 1A-Region 3 meet will be Saturday at Canton High. The top four finishers in each event will advance to the North State meet.
"I just went out there and tried to perform and do my best," Williams said. "I had to forget I had the cold," Williams said. "It wasn't the weather to compete in, but we had to give the best we had."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.