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Character Counts

Press Photo by Chris Aarhus Dickinson High senior Challis Williams runs at practice on Wednesday. Williams is headed to the Air Force Academy after he graduates.

Dickinson High boys track and field co-coaches Jay Schobinger and Dave Michaelson have seen plenty of participants come through their program.

As a student-athlete, however, not many have rivaled senior Challis Williams.

Williams, who will attend the Air Force Academy after graduating from high school, has qualified for the state track and field meet in six events including a trio of open races, but that's not all his coaches are smiling about.

"He's the kind of kid you'd be proud to call your son," Michaelson said. "He's one of those kids you want other athletes to emulate. He's a great role model."

Schobinger said Williams' all-out effort to help the team shows his character.

"He'll look at the field (of participants) and say 'This is where I think I can place here and this is where I can be here,' " Schobinger said. "Then he'll ask 'what's best for the team?' He isn't going to do anything that's selfish. He's a realist. He understands how things are supposed to be."

That attitude has helped Williams become versatile on the track. He's ran state-qualifying times in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes. He's also qualified in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.

"I'm pretty happy with the results," Williams said. "The 400 is what I'm really training for. That's what I want to do the best in."

The quarter mile is a race in which many Dickinson High athletes have done well, especially in the past three years when the Midgets took 10 of the 24 places at the state meet. Two of those came from Williams, who took eighth as a sophomore and sixth as a junior.

With all of those runners gone, Williams finds himself at the front of the pack.

"It's his time to shine," Michaelson said. "That's cool. That's what track and field is all about. It's his turn."

Schobinger echoed those sentiments.

"We've been very lucky over the last eight years where we've had some really good runners (in the 400)," Schobinger said. "He had to wait (for) his time."

That time has come, which is definitely fine with Williams.

"I knew we lost a couple of big leaders," Williams said. "I was kind of geared towards it and ready to step up."

Whether Williams does well at the state meet or not, he's already a winner in his coaches' minds.

"More than athletic ability and athletic accomplishments, he's a good person," Michaelson said. "That's what we want in our program. Dickinson High's pretty proud of Challis."