Williams proud to represent ECHS

Published 10:22 am Monday, May 16, 2011

Neiko Williams shows off the speed that helped him jump to second place in the Class 4A long jump at the AHSAA state meet last Saturday.|Photo by Chandler Myers

Last Saturday, the Escambia County Blue Devils track team made a trip to Gulf Shores for the Class 4A-6A state track meet and one Blue Devil came away with a big prize at the meet.

Neiko Williams, a senior at ECHS, dominated all but one competitor in the Class 4A long jump to finish second in the state.

Williams finished the meet with a jump of 21 feet, 11 and 1/4 inches, which was less than one foot from the state champion Brandon Howard of Lincoln High School who jumped 22 feet, 5 and 3/4 inches.

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Williams’ jumped was also less than two feet short of the AHSAA state record set by Leeds High School’s Charles Rose who jumped 23 feet, 9 and 1/2 inches in 1991.

For Williams finishing second in the state is a great way to represent his school.

“I love Escambia County High School,” Williams said. “I’ve been here for four years, and I’m proud to represent my school the way I did.”

To reach the state meet, Williams first had to practice and then qualify in a sectional meet.

Practice was difficult at times with Williams also playing baseball for ECHS.

His coach, Blue Devils assistant track coach Karl Smith, said Williams put in the work and qualified strong at the sectional.

“Neiko, despite playing in two sports, was able to get some reps in,” Smith said. “He practiced hard when he wasn’t playing baseball and even turned in a 22-foot jump at a meet at Pine Forest in Pensacola, Fla. At the sectional, he finished in the Top 8 of the preliminaries and earned an automatic qualification by winning the sectional. He had quite a season.”

Once at the meet, Williams was focused on winning a state title after finishing in third place just a few years ago.

He said when he was preparing to jump he was just concentrating on something he knew he could do.

“When I’m getting ready to jump, I’m thinking I know I can do this, so let’s just get it done, so I can I try and win a state championship,” he said.

Now that he was come close to winning the state championship, Williams can sit back and enjoy the award he won.

Williams said he is happy to accomplish a goal he set to do.

“I’m proud of myself for finishing second in the state,” Williams said. “It’s something I worked on all year long.”