Williams siblings will to win

Jocelyn and Lewis Williams compete as teammates for Flames track and field

Encouragement — Lewis Williams has always supported his sister, and she does the same for him.  Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Encouragement — Lewis Williams has always supported his sister, and she does the same for him. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Lewis and Jocelyn Williams have the opportunity to experience something only a few Liberty University athletes have the chance to do during their college careers. In addition to attending the same school as their sibling, the Williams’ are able to support each other in their athletic endeavors not just from the stands, but as teammates competing on the Liberty University track and field team.

Redshirt freshman Lewis Williams is a decathlete in his first season with the team, while his older sister, redshirt senior Jocelyn Williams, has been an asset to the throwing team since 2010.

Clendon Henderson, the Flames throwing coach, has seen the siblings interact through supporting each other during the ups and downs of the season.

“They do a good job of being teammates, but then also (as) brother and sister (who have) a good time being on the team together,” Henderson said.

The siblings also have a brother who is much older than them, but because of the age difference, Jocelyn and Lewis Williams became closer during their childhood, spending a lot of time together on and off the field.

Jocelyn Williams began track and field in eighth grade, but did not begin throwing until her high school coach pushed her to try something new. She attended Hamilton High School West in New Jersey, placing second in the state in the discus as a junior.

“We didn’t have a track team in middle school, so for (Jocelyn’s) freshman to junior year (of high school), I would go out to her sectionals, regionals (and) states, and I would just watch her throw,” Lewis Williams said. “It was a lot of fun getting to seeher progress.”

After Jocelyn Williams chose to attend Liberty University in 2010, Lewis Williams was left to make a name for himself in high school. Lewis Williams said after attending school in New Jersey for two years and competing in the 400-meter hurdles, 4×100-meter relay and discus throw, his family moved to Virginia and he began attending Liberty Christian Academy.

Jocelyn Williams said she did not pressure her brother into choosing Liberty University, but she said Liberty is a contagious environment that is hard for people to leave.

In the 2014-2015 season, though the siblings are competing in very different events — Lewis Williams, the decathlon, and Jocelyn Williams, the throwing events — both are able to support each other while exchanging knowledge.

“(This year) has been a lot of (Jocelyn) passing down what she knows,” Lewis Williams said. “Shot put and discus are a lot of her specialties.”

Jocelyn Williams has enjoyed great success during her time at Liberty. During her career, she has won the 2014 Big South Individual Indoor weight throw title, earned All-Big South honors five times and achieved the Liberty University women’s record in the weight throw.

Henderson acknowledged the leadership and maturity he has seen from Jocelyn Williams over the years.

“(Jocelyn’s) just a good example of what I’m expecting out of somebody,” Henderson said. “She’s improved in all areas. I think she has learned to handle the struggles of her career a lot better.”

Lewis Williams said he was first introduced to the decathlon event by Liberty teammate Cody Bingham. With Lewis Williams just beginning his career in college, his coach, Lance Bingham, said Lewis Williams is beginning to see how the decathlon is very much a learning process.

“The decathlon is something that takes time to develop,” Lance Bingham said. “… (Lewis is learning) that (he needs) to be a little more patient with development. You have to have that drive and ambition, and you want to strive toward perfection, but you’ve got to allow yourself the grace to get there too.”

The decathlon is a track and field event consisting of 10 events. These events are the 100-meter sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500-meter run. The athlete with the most points at the end of the 10 events wins.

Lewis Williams said one of his favorite events to participate in is the pole vault. Lewis Williams and his coach agreed that Lewis Williams’ background in gymnastics has helped him develop his pole-vaulting skills very quickly.

With the Big South Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship fast approaching, Lewis Williams’ career is just beginning while Jocelyn Williams’ final collegiate season will come to a close as she graduates in May. However, she plans to continue training after graduation.

“I want to be able to work my way up to training full time,” Jocelyn Williams said. “The 2016 Olympics are next year, so I’m going to try and make a run for it.”

No matter the miles separating the brother and sister duo of Lewis and Jocelyn Williams, the support for each other’s endeavors will never diminish.

RODRIGUEZ is a sports reporter.

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