Track & Field: Tanner Williams set to run for Buckeyes

STEPHEN BORGNA
sborgna@thisweeknews.com
Kilbourne senior Tanner Williams runs the 3,200 meters on his way to placing second in the Division I state indoor meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva. Williams will compete in track and cross country at Ohio State.

Tanner Williams is taking it all in stride.

Although he's disappointed that he didn't have the opportunity to compete in his final track and field season with Worthington Kilbourne because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, he's looking forward to running track and cross country for Ohio State.

Williams finished fifth in the 3,200 meters (school-record 9 minutes, 27.7 seconds) in the Division I regional meet last spring, missing a state berth by one spot. Instead of competing at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for the Wolves, he'll do it for the Buckeyes.

"It's really unfortunate that all of this has happened, but I'm trying to make the most of it," Williams said. "Qualifying for state was a huge goal of mine, but at least I'll be running on the Jesse Owens (track) for my collegiate career, so that's sort of a silver lining."

Despite missing his senior season of outdoor track this spring, Williams went out on a high note for the Wolves. He finished seventh (15:40.6) of 186 runners in the Division I state cross country meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway and was runner-up in the 3,200 (9:19.53) in the Division I state indoor meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.

Williams was aiming for similar success this spring before the OHSAA canceled the season to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

"He had an awesome season leading up to (regional) last spring but that race, and result, definitely served as fuel for the fire," Kilbourne boys track coach Josh Stegman said. "That's not to say he wasn't motivated last year... but he definitely wasn't satisfied. He upped his commitment to the sport of running with immediate aspirations to have an outstanding cross country season, and he did just that.

"Tanner still has so much left in the tank, so to speak, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for him as well as what his role will be as a Buckeye."

In the short term, Williams said he plans to spend his summer training for his first cross country season at Ohio State this fall.

"I'm not really the quickest guy over the shorter distances. I think I can work on that," he said. "And it's always a goal of mine to improve my mindset. It's really easy to let one negative thought ruin the entire race."

Once at Ohio State, his first goal will be to acclimate himself to his new teammates.

"I think my main goal that I'm worried about right now is being with the team and sort of getting to know everyone and trying to sit in as far as the training plan goes," he said.

As far as his time goals, Williams wants to clock under 25 minutes in an 8K, which is approximately five miles. He said he hasn't yet competed in an 8K, which is "a little bit more difficult" than a 5K.

He intends to major in nutrition at Ohio State.

"Food has always been an interest for me, and the biology and all the plants, and the different nutrients and all that kind of stuff," he said.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

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