Milford’s Williams eyes ‘grand’ return

Of all the pains incurred by injury to a high school athlete, one stands out most …

Loneliness.

“It’s not the physical, it’s the mental part,” said Milford High sprint sensation Viankah Williams. “Pushing through on your own each day? That’s the hard part.”

If things were right in the world, both Williams would be shredding opponents indoors. As accomplished already as most any track athlete in this region’s rich history, her potential on the track is basically limitless, if healthy.

And therein lies the drag this winter and for the senior Williams, throughout her high school career basically. She has not competed this winter, instead paying the price in rehab and physical therapy, doing anything she can to rebuild her body while playing counselor to her teammates, who do their best to hold things together without their superstar.

“I go to practice every day and try to make as many meets as I can,” said Williams, whose role as a leader and inspiration to track athletes was noted in the fall by Spartan classmate and fellow long-jumper Victor Garcia.

“She’s amazing,” said Garcia. “I’ve learned so much from her.”

Williams’ work is clearly paying off. Garcia leaped 20-7.5 indoors recently at the Dartmouth Relays, an eye-popping effort.

But Williams is intent on finally getting those hamstrings right.

If you were keeping score at home, in three-plus years of indoor and outdoor track, Williams has won six state titles, weaving those performances around an ungodly eight hamstring pulls.

But it was the most recent flare-up in December where the frustration came to a boil.

“We really needed a better plan,” said Williams. “My hamstrings were weak, and I needed to work on strengthening my hips and glutes around them.”

Williams, whose dad Vince carries some blue-chip bloodlines having played football with Hall of Famer and family friend Curtis Martin at the University of Pittsburgh, sought out a new specialist and began the long road back almost immediately.

There are days now, in the dead of winter, where the legs feel better and she dreams about pushing an early return. Her body needs time.

“My health comes first,” said Williams, whose stirring anchor run in the 4×200 in last winter’s states is still marveled about in track circles.

“I’m not coming back at 60 percent indoors. I’d rather have a grand comeback outdoors.”

That discipline shows amazing poise and forethought from a teenager. But Williams is just too well-schooled at handling adversity.

What Williams going? How does she persevere?

The answer, of course, is the same drive that makes her so special athletically. But there’s more to it.

“I’ve been very humbled by this experience. I know when obstacles come up in the future, I’ll be more prepared for them because of this,” admitted Williams, whose list of potential colleges includes top choice UConn, Quinnipiac, URI, Stony Brook and Binghamton, all Division 1 programs.

“I owe it to my parents, my friends, my teammates, my coaches to come back physically to what I can be. Without them all I would not be here. Without them I would not be this strong mentally.”

The return, as Williams said, could be grand.

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