Bloomingdale's Kevin Williams scored three pins and a 19-7 major decision to capture the Class 4A, Region II championship at 160 pounds last week, and the most important thing on his mind this week is winning a state title. So far, his record is 27-2 and he has competed in the 160-, 171- and 189-pound weight classes.
"Kevin is a major part of our team and the key to the upper weights," Bloomingdale coach Scot Tipton said. "He knows that the team always comes first, and when he was needed in heavier weights he always gave his best for the team. Once we got to the districts, though, 160 was the best for him and the team."
Williams began wrestling at age 8 in Elko, Nev., and competed at LaCueva, Utah, as a high school freshman. His family moved to the Brandon area in the summer before his sophomore year and he has been a starter for the Bulls the past three seasons.
"My dad got me interested in wrestling initially, because he wrestled in high school and at the University of Utah," Williams said. "Wrestling gives me a chance at an individual sport. If you lose, it is up to you. If you win, it is your glory."
Williams' intensity was demonstrated by the three pins and 19-7 major decision at the regional tournament.
Of the 234 wrestlers in the regional, Williams was one of only five who scored three pins.
"Kevin's intensity is way above anyone else I've seen this year," Tipton said. "He is like a cougar. He is extremely aggressive and just attacks his opponents. He is the same way in practice that he is in a match. Whether lifting weights, running, or working out on the mat, he gives it 110 percent."
When he isn't training or competing, Williams has his face in the books.
He carries a 4.6 grade-point average and scored a 1,300 on his SAT exam (1,600 is perfect).
"My GPA is above the maximum 4.0 because I am part of the advanced placement program which offers me an opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school," Williams said. "The advanced courses should help me to earn a scholarship also. I have already been contacted by Princeton and Yale of the Ivy League, plus the University of North Carolina, about a wrestling scholarship."
Tipton said Brigham Young University and Michigan could be added to that list.
"He attacks his books with the same intensity he goes after an opponent on the mat," Tipton said. "He is definitely being recruited, and what happens at the state tournament could intensify that activity. His success in academics makes him even more of a prospect, especially to colleges like the Ivy League schools."
Williams' most immediate goal is to win the 160-pound state championship next Saturday night in West Palm Beach.
Then he plans to evaluate his options for college, which include various business scholarships for which he has applied.
"Right now I'm looking into the field of investment banking or business management in general," he said. "But nothing is more important to me right now than a state championship."
Said Tipton: "One of the things that helps Kevin to achieve so high in whatever he attempts is his solid family and home life. His family is always there to support him in everything he does."