Williams captures athletic persona

Junior running back and sprinter Ordell Williams enjoys competing at the Ping-Pong table as much as competing on the football field and the track. Williams, a Claremont High School graduate, has proven himself as a powerful running back and a nationally-ranked collegiate runner for University of La Verne athletics. / photo by Ryan Sones
Junior running back and sprinter Ordell Williams enjoys competing at the Ping-Pong table as much as competing on the football field and the track. Williams, a Claremont High School graduate, has proven himself as a powerful running back and a nationally-ranked collegiate runner for University of La Verne athletics. / photo by Ryan Sones

by Damien Alarcon
Staff Writer

An athlete is a person trained in contests requiring physical strength, skill, stamina and speed. Junior Ordell Williams is an athlete.

Williams has showed his mental and physical strength the past three years on the La Verne football and track teams, especially this past season.

The star football player and five-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) track champion has not had the ideal year for either sport.

In football, the Leopards had an off-year finishing with a 2-7 record in comparison to the past seasons. However, Williams managed to make First Team All-Conference.

In track, the two-time national qualifier did not have the season which he or head coach Pat Widolff expected. An ankle injury from football denied Williams practice for the first three months of the training season.

“Even though he was hurt this year, he still worked hard when he could. He has done everything for us,” Widolff said. “I know that he wasn’t as successful as he has been in the past seasons because of the injury, but the fact that he pushed himself to be one of the top contenders in the conference tells a lot about him.”

Williams competes in the 400 meters, the long jump, the 400m relay and the 1,600m relay. He currently holds schools records in the 400m (49.02 seconds) and the 1,600m relay (3:15.55). He qualified for the Division III national meet in the two previous seasons in the 1,600m relay.

Talented with incredible speed, he was SCIAC champion in all of the events last season and was a part of the championship squad his freshman year.

In this season’s SCIAC Finals, Williams took third in the 400m, third in the 1,600m relay, fourth in the 400 relay and second in the long jump. Because of his injury, he did not participate or practice in the long jump until the end of the season.

Even with his success on the track, Williams admits that the sport is more like a hobby to him than an important priority.

“Football is more important to me because I like the competition. I like the fact that it is a team-oriented sport. It is more exciting. In track, you just run,” he said.

In his freshman year, Williams managed to have a lot of playing time at the tailback position averaging 7.6 yards per carry. That year, 1995, he started behind Leopards legends Anthony Jones and Anthony Rice in an undefeated (9-0), championship season.

His sophomore year was more disappointing for him, having little playing time and barely losing a conference championship.

This year, Williams held the starting job at tailback and was chosen for the All-SCIAC team.

“Ordell Williams could be the best running back in the conference [next year],” head football coach Don Morel said. “The only person that can stop him is Ordell Williams.”

Williams credits his father, Billy, for supporting him in everything he does.

“When I was between 5 and 7 years old, I was in gymnastics, and my dad would drive me to Santa Monica a few times a week for practice,” Williams explained.

Williams attended Claremont High School, where his family still lives. His family and he moved to Claremont from Compton during Williams’ sophomore year.

Williams, a psychology major, wants to attend graduate school at UCLA after his stay at La Verne. He hopes to one day work at a counseling center and help children with problems.

His eagerness to help children probably comes from his parents, who have adopted a child, Williams’ 8-year-old brother Quincy.

Williams wants to once again make All-SCIAC, have a winning team, go to the Division III playoffs and break the career rushing record for the next football season.

As for track, he wants to go to Nationals, place and be an All-American in both relays (400m, 1,600m).

No athlete becomes an athlete without goals. Ordell Williams is an athlete.

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