FPC junior Jada Williams is among one of the best athletes in Florida in three different sports.
For Flagler Palm Coast High School's Jada Williams, being one of the best in one sport wasn't enough. She set her sights on becoming one of the best in three of them.
Competing in varsity cross country, soccer and track and field since her freshman year, Williams learned not only how to balance three sports, but to excel in each.
Over the weekend, Williams competed as FPC's lone qualifier to the FHSAA cross country state championships for the second consecutive year. The junior took 10th overall in the girls 4A race, running 19:17.70 to make the podium. 2019's race saw Williams finish 26th overall in 19:19.10.
During the 2019-20 soccer season, she was credited with 13 assisted shutouts as a defensive player and scored one goal last season during a game against Trinity Catholic. Her goal was one of the eventual eight scored that night.
Due to the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year, William's had her promising sophomore track season cut short.
But being an athlete juggling multiple sports means that you also have multiple coaches, which makes for a good support system. She often looks up to assistant coach Sophia Clark, who ran for FPC (2011-2015) and went on to run for Florida Atlantic University (2015-2019). She looks for guidance based on Clark's own experiences as a prep, which is why Dave Halliday, head coach of the boys and girls cross country and track and field teams at FPC, says that Williams is a thrill to coach.
"She is a competitor by nature and always seems to compete at her best when the stakes are the highest," he said. "She simply puts in the necessary work day in and day out."
"Jada is a very special young lady. A pure athlete with a tremendous drive."
PETE HALD, soccer coach
From the beginning, Halliday worked with Williams on balancing her schedule, trying to keep her available to run, but also allow her to keep her commitments to club soccer and playing soccer for Peter Hald at FPC. Hald was also key in keeping the balance, saying that Williams was very coachable on many occasions.
"Jada is a very special young lady. A pure athlete with a tremendous drive," he said.
Williams is crucial to Hald's back line and is a major part of the team's defense because of her ability to compete and to lead, saying "I always try my best to give my players confidence in their abilities. Players like Jada really excel when they have that high level of confidence."
Though confidence is one part of it, being able to adapt is another key to success. Williams' biggest adjustment going from sport to sport is having to get her body into a different kind of shape that's tailored to each sport.
"Cross country (running) is more of a mental sport," she said. "Whereas soccer is more physical, you need to be more agile." Despite the differences, she's managed it. It's how she's able to compete at a cross country meet on a weekend, and be ready to play a soccer game only days later.
Williams plans to choose just one sport to focus on at the college level, but she's enjoying her time in the moment. She, along with her coaches, have big plans for her over the coming months — as well as next year.