ONTARIO — With a personal best jump of five feet at the Greater Oregon League Championships, Ontario junior Nora Williams has brought home a league championship and is headed to state just a year removed from an injury that cut her sophomore year short.

While sophomore year is always a big year for learning, Williams’ sophomore season lasted just about an hour.

After running in the girls 4x100-meter relay — the team of Williams, Abbey Wood, Jazmine Ware and Meagan Houston placed first in 52.37 seconds — and hitting a four-foot-four high jump, Williams jogged over to the long jump.

The record shows Williams scratched on her long jump because as she raced down the strip for her run up, Williams collapsed and clutched her leg. A ruptured Achilles tendon, and the ensuing surgery, meant William’s season was over.

“I got like, half a meet,” Williams said, laughing.

After a spring full of hard work and testing the limits of her legs, Williams said it felt really good to see it all pay off with league gold. But Williams said she misses the running events.

“It’s been hard. And obviously I’m not, like, back, especially running-wise. I haven’t actually been able to run much this season,” Williams said. “Mentally and physically, it’s been rough.”

In middle school, Williams competed in the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, long jump and the 4x100-meter relay.

In order to stay healthy in 2019, Williams focused mostly on the high jump and the javelin. She placed ninth at district in the javelin, with a 70-foot, nine inch throw. Her javelin personal best is 72-10, which she set at the quad meet with Baker, Nyssa and Vale.

“High jump is something that I can still do,” she said.

But Williams was able to return for a few races this spring, she ran the 100-meter dash four times and the 200-meter dash twice. Her first race came on April 9 at the quad meet.

“That was nerve wracking,” Williams said. “I was obviously scared, because I didn’t know how I’d come out of the blocks. But it went OK.”

Williams finished the race 11th in 14.59 seconds. And after the race, Williams was met with big hugs and high fives from every Ontario athlete she passed. Williams said having a strong support group of teammates has been a big help for her recovery this season, especially in keeping her spirits up.

“For sure, they’ve all helped me and still made it fun, even though I’m not, you know, really back yet,” she said.

Williams said she’s also received a lot of help from the Ontario coaching staff, especially jumping coach Steve Toth, who’s always there giving her help during meets.

“The coaches, they just haven’t given up on me, and they kept me going,” Williams said.

Track and field wasn’t William’s first time being a varsity athlete after her surgery. While she started the school year still in a walking boot, Williams was able to work her way into the starting lineup on the Ontario varsity volleyball team. She said volleyball season was a big boost to her confidence after her injury.

As far as the future is concerned, Williams said she is unsure about returning to long jump. As far as the mental aspect goes, she said she’s open to giving it another go as long as she’s feeling healthy.

“I don’t know. Just because it didn’t actually happen long jumping. I was just sprinting during my run up,” Williams said. “So mentally, I’m not worried about it. But it’s just more on my leg. So next year, if I’m fully back, then possibly. But this year I didn’t do it because I can only run so much. I didn’t try to even bother with it.”

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Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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