IN his first three years of high school cross-country, Seth Williams raced in the shadows of some of the state’s top runners.
Now a senior at Columbus North, Williams himself is one of the top runners in Indiana. He finished 17th in the state last year and is poised to make a run at a top-10 finish this fall.
“He has a very good work ethic and races fearlessly, so I think it will be fun to watch how well he does,” North coach Rick Weinheimer said.
Williams broke into the Bull Dogs’ lineup as the No. 4 runner as a sophomore. He spent most of last season as North’s No. 3 runner behind Andy Carr and Kaden Eaton but showed a glimpse of his potential when he won the Brown County Regional in 15 minutes, 47.61 seconds. The following week, he ran a personal-best 15:39.8 in the Brown County Semistate.
With Carr and Eaton off to college, Williams has ascended to the team’s No. 1 spot.
“There’s a lot of pressure as far as setting a good example, but I had a lot of good examples the years before I was a senior, like Kaden and Andy and the guys my freshman year showing me the right way,” Williams said. “They taught me to run strong all the way through the race and give everything you have.”
Williams did just that Saturday when North opened its season with the Conference Indiana meet at Indiana University. Seth Williams ran 15:52.2 to finish second behind Bloomington South’s Anthony Williams, who ran 15:47.1.
“I thought it was a great start to the season,” Seth Williams said. “I thought it was great to start on hills and get a hard course under my belt.”
Another Bull Dog senior, Chase Ballard, finished third in 16:17.7, giving North a solid 1-2 punch.
“I think Seth is very comfortable being with that lead pack, and I think he’s very comfortable being in the lead,” Weinheimer said. “I think it helps him that he and Chase Ballard have each other on a daily basis to work at it, but Seth has stepped into that with really no hesitation.”
Both Williams and Ballard are coming off injuries during track season. Williams had a stress fracture in his tibia during the first half of track season but came back at the end and qualified for state in the 3,200 meters.
“It was a big mental game to kind of push myself through and keep myself on track physically,” Williams said. “I learned a lot from it.”
Williams said he feels great right now. He wants to be the best example he can to his teammates.
“Seth is kind of a quiet guy by nature, so I think everybody watches his example and learns from it,” Weinheimer said. “He works hard. He shows up every day and does his best. He enjoys what he’s doing, and he enjoys being part of the team.”