North runner saved best for last

Veteran Columbus North cross-country coach Rick Weinheimer has talked about how special it is when one of his senior runners has a big senior year.

Seth Williams had one of those years this fall. He won sectional, regional and semistate titles and finished fourth in the state finals to lead the Bull Dogs to a fourth-place state finish.

For his efforts, Williams is The Republic Athlete of the Year for Boys Cross-Country.

“I thought he had an absolutely top end, what I call a ‘senior season,’ where a lot of special things come together,” Weinheimer said. “He worked hard to get there, but he also raced really hard.”

Williams saved his best race for last, running a personal-best 15 minutes, 14 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) in the state meet. That ranks him fourth on North’s all-time list.

“It was great,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

“He ran very, very well,” Weinheimer said. “His best racing ability is just his calm confidence that he’s going to do his best. He’ll go down as one of the best we’ve ever had.”

Fellow senior Chase Ballard pushed Williams through most of his workouts and meets.

“I had a lot of motivation with people right behind me,” Williams said. “Chase was right with me. I know he’s right there trying to go after the No. 1 spot, too, so it’s good for both of us to push each other.”

Shortly after the state meet, Williams committed to run cross-country and track at Purdue. He also had visited Louisville but chose Purdue in large part because of its engineering program.

“I like the whole program,” Williams said. “I like the coaches. It felt like the right fit for me, and their engineering, you can’t beat that.”

Williams’ goal for now is getting back to the state track meet in the 3,200 meters and improving on his 22nd-place finish from last season. As he looks back on his high school cross-country career, he’ll remember it with fondness.

“Just running with my teammates every day is the biggest thing that I think about,” Williams said.

The rest of The Republic All-Area Boys Cross-Country team:

  • Chase Ballard, Columbus North: The senior finished second in the Brown County Sectional, Regional and Semistate and seventh at state.
  • Ben Rankin, Columbus North: The junior finished third in the sectional, fourth in the regional, 16th at semistate and 37th at state.
  • Ben Porter, Columbus North: The senior finished fourth in the sectional, fifth in the regional, 25th at semistate and 85th at state.
  • Joe Wright, Columbus North: The senior finished 12th in the sectional and 110th at state.
  • Chase McQueen, Columbus North: The junior finished 47th in the semistate and 141st at state.
  • Kyle Newland, Columbus North: The senior finished eighth in the sectional and regional, 33rd in the semistate and 149th at state.
  • Kyle Lewis, Jennings County: The senior finished 13th in the regional, 17th at semistate and 67th at state.
  • Paul Bean, Columbus East: The sophomore finished seventh in the sectional, ninth in the regional and 46th in the semistate.
  • Daniel Hauersperger, Seymour: The senior finished sixth in the sectional, seventh in the regional and 59th in the semistate.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Eddie Ryan. Columbus East: Jonathan Clayton, Shaunak Deshmukh, Isaac Richardson. Columbus North: Alec Embry, Nick Green. Jennings County: Ricky Hendrix. Seymour: Alex Lovins, Tim Molinari, Jacob Voss. South Decatur: Justyn Clark. Trinity Lutheran: Luke Onken.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.