By KEVIN WEAKS
MURFREESBORO — After 18 races in front of him that took two-and-a-half hours to complete, DeAndrez Williams finally got his turn on the track.
In less than a minute, he showed it was worth the wait.
Williams closed out his high school track career with a time of 49.91 seconds to finish third overall in the 400-meter dash at the Class A-AA Boys’ State Track Meet Friday evening.
“I thought he ran a great race,” UC assistant coach Preston Martin said. “Everybody there was excellent. We’re extremely proud of DeAndrez. He represented Union City very well.”
Placed in the middle of the running schedule, which had the A-AA, Division II and AAA meets all going on at the same time, the 400 meters was the seventh race listed.
The A-AA runners competed first of the three classifications in each event, meaning Williams’’ group would be the 19th race of the evening session, which began at 5 p.m. The A-AA 400 started close to 7:30 p.m.
It was a good overall run for Williams, who was just off his sectional qualifying time by a fraction of a second.
“He didn’t have a personal record, but he was close to it,” Martin said. “He was really focused on this race, being the last one in high school for him. He knew he’d have to run the race of his life, but he came in expecting to win.”
Williams arrived in town as the third-fasted 400-meter runner in the state’s Class A-AA division and left the same way.
The top three qualifiers stayed the same as Williams trailed only Sam Cranford of Christ Presbyterian Academy and DeAndre Webster of Spring Hill in times recorded at the sectional meets last week.
Cranford won the state championship with a time of 49.33, while Webster was second in a time of 49.48.
“(Cranford) was telling DeAndrez before the race that he’d run in the 48s before, and DeAndrez wanted to keep pace with him. He was closing in late in the race, but it was a little too late.”
Williams closed his high school athletic career and finished up the 2011-12 sports season at Union City with the run.
“The 400 isn’t even his favorite race,” Martin said. “In fact, it’s his least favorite, but it’s the one he’s best at. And, he’s not done running. He’ll run in college somewhere.”
As the only Golden Tornado in the boys’ meet, Williams gives Union City a team score of six points, ranking UC 35th out of the 53 schools with representatives in the meet.
Sheffield won the team title with 49 points.
Published in The Messenger 5.28.12