COVINGTON - Eastside's Karl Williams may not be your typical sprinter, standing at 6 feet, 3 inches and pushing 225 pounds, but that didn't stop him from being the fastest 100-meter runner in the Class AAA state meet this year.
"I heard a lot of coaches say, 'That's a big guy to be running that fast.' I'll take that as a compliment anytime," he said.
Williams took the top spot in 10.66 seconds.
What makes his feat even more remarkable is the fact that this is the first year he's run the 100.
"This is my first year qualifying or anything in the 100," said Williams. "I feel real good. I never thought I could do it, I thought I could do it in the 200, but, in my mind, I didn't think I was going to get in the 100. You couldn't tell me I was going to win in the 100, I'm still shocked about it."
Williams' time was the third fastest winning mark in all classifications and the fourth fastest of any runner at the meet.
When he started running track six years ago as a seventh-grader at Indian Creek Middle School, no one would have guessed that he would be where he is today.
"I used to be slower than anything," Williams said. "I used to come to Eastside during middle school and run and my speed just started building up with practice."
While hard work and dedicated practice have made Williams as good as he is, he also attributed his increased speed to new training programs by his coach, Frankey Iverson, and his girlfriend, Brittany Nicole Aycox.
"I used to eat pot roast, steak, roast chicken. Now she's been feeding me healthy food like vegetables, corn, string beans and stuff like that," Williams said.
Iverson changed the way the team practiced by shortening the lengths they ran, dropping it from 200-300 meters to between 100 and 200.
"We started a new training program and everyone has gotten faster. I'm just one of them that got faster and got to show it," Williams said. "We did drills working on form and block work. It's helped our speed coming off the block."
Besides getting accolades from his coaches and his peers, Williams also got praises for a job well done from Georgia State University defensive line coach Chris Ward.
"They called and were excited. I've been getting a bunch of support from the football coaches at Georgia State. I text them and tell them my time and they say go ahead and win it," the future Panthers player said. "I'm also going to run track for Georgia State. I'm going to run the 100 and do anything they basically tell me to. I should be running this year when I get to college."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.