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Waiting in the wings: South track standout Erin Williams hopeful to compete again

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Erin Williams competes in a high school track meet last season. Williams is one of many local athletes hoping spring sports don’t get canceled.

PARKERSBURG — The progression of COVID-19 leaves more questions than answers for many around the state. We don’t know when a sense of normalcy will return, as social gatherings are indefinitely paused. The absence of sports is felt all around, and plenty of high school seniors could be deprived of things like prom, graduation and their final times performing as high school student-athletes.

Still, there is a chance the spring sports slate could make its appearance later in 2020. For Parkersburg South senior Erin Williams, she’s hoping to have that opportunity. She finished out her Patriot basketball career with memories and games full of highlights, like the game on December 29 where she hit a school record number of 3-pointers (10) in an 80-32 win against Wyoming East. A strong showing during last spring’s track and field season gave Williams momentum heading into her final season representing the Patriots.

Now, she waits for any good news.

2019 was a key year in the growth of the Parkersburg South track and field team. Williams participated in multiple events at the state meet in Charleston, and she wants to build off those results. A sixth-place finish in the girls’ Class AAA high jump finals wasn’t her only finish toward the top, as she notched a fourth place showing in the long jump. There is a lot of uncertainty around, but Williams wants to prepare for a best-case scenario.

“We were putting in a lot of work at practice up and until it was postponed,” she said. “We have some new good athletes along with some returning ones. I expect to exceed past my own personal records and do my best for the team. I hope all we are able to have our season this year, as it is my senior year.”

Williams is one of six seniors on the girls’ side of the track and field squad, and that provides those upperclassmen the chance to take head coach Tara Swiger’s younger athletes to the next level. The hang up comes in this postponing of spring sports, as the younger girls must wait to see how they mesh with the rest of the group.

“We are really committed and competitive. I think that helps the underclassmen push themselves in the workouts and meets,” Williams remarked. “Also, everyone gets along with everyone. It’s a positive and welcoming environment, so therefore newcomers can be comfortable.”

Last year’s voyage to Charleston has Williams hungry for a repeat of her success, but in this world of postponements, she is doing everything she can to stay in the best shape possible. It’s something many student-athletes must overcome, and Williams won’t let this stoppage get in her way.

“I’ve been running to stay and shape and keep my legs strong. I’ve also been trying to research drills or exercises that will improve my form,” she said. “My goal every track season has been to make it to the state track meet, and I plan to get to Charleston again!”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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