Gladstone's gladiator: Inclusion for all in OSAA

Adin Williams (KPTV)

The state championship season is nearly upon us for the spring sports calendar.

This is the first year where para-ambulatory and wheelchair athlete events will count towards team scores in the OSAA. We put our eye on the track with a determined tenth grader from Gladstone.

Adin Williams is a 16-year-old sophomore at Gladstone High.

“There aren’t that many kids at Gladstone who are even doing sports at all and to be one of the not very many, it's an honor,” he said.

Williams runs the 100-meter dash and 400-meter sprint for the 4A Gladiators.

“It kind of feels like the Olympics to me. The crowd is always a big thing in competition,” he said.

And that crowd has his back.

“The fans love him because he is just a fierce competitor,” said Bob Johnson, head coach for Gladstone High School track and field.

Fierce on the track and in the pool, Williams is a two-time state champion swimmer who also competed at the U.S. Paralympic Team trials in North Carolina last July. He is also headed to another para-athlete invitational in Indianapolis this June.

“It’s a special thing to compete at the top stage of something … is awesome just to be there,” Williams said.

Wet or dry, he is out to get better each and every day.

“I tell you, race day, it doesn't matter to him. He competes. He doesn't go out there and dog it. He runs hard,” said Johnson. “A lot of kids will run in their comfort zone. He doesn't do that. He takes a lot of pride as far as himself trying to get better.”

His drive is there even when there isn’t a sole lined up to his left or his right.

“Track isn't necessarily about competing against others, it's about competing against yourself and your own time,” Williams said.

Peaking at the right time, seeking those personal bests just a week out from districts and two away from the magic of Hayward Field at the state meet in Eugene.

“It’s awesome. The chances of even being there, first of all, are really low but to go that far, that's just amazing,” said Williams.

For the first time in OSAA track competition, like in swimming, para-athletes' points will count in the team tally.

“It’s very important, especially in something like state,” Williams said. “One little score can mean the difference from one place to another and for me to be able to help the team to that, is a very big deal.”

Johnson said, “Hopefully that will stimulate and encourage a lot more paras to come out and compete.”

Competing on the oval and in the classroom, the Portland Thorns supporter and Mana Shim fan has his favorite subject.

“I’d probably say math because it feels like the easiest to me,” Williams said.

Easy come, fast out of the blocks, he goes.

The three-day Oregon High School State Track and Field Championship begins at Hayward Field on May 18.

Williams’ mom ran for Barlow in the late ‘80s.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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