Feb. 15, 2012

 

By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
 
NORMAN, Okla. -- Sometimes, Kevin Williams and his distance running teammates on the Oklahoma track team just laugh about their full-time job.

“We like to say we work for OU distance running,’’ the senior said. “We’re always practicing. Always running. Always doing something.”

That’s the life of the student-athlete trackster at OU. Three seasons of running – indoor, outdoor, cross country – so there’s always a meet to get to, a practice to grind out and of course school work to finish.

“It gets difficult,” Williams said. “But that’s the path that we’ve chosen.”

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And for Williams and teammate Bill Kogel, the path means excelling in the classroom and representing themselves as part of the cross country and track team.

The two were recently named Academic All-Americans for the cross country season and the the two will be part of the Sooner indoor track team that competes Feb. 24 at Texas A&M for the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

“We really stay on top of the schoolwork more so it’s not a burden,” said Kogel a pre-med major. “A lot of times, you do the work so you’re on top of it, but it kind of works out both ways – when you’re on top of your school work, you run better.”

It’s worked out great for the Sooners, too. Kogel, a junior from Sioux Falls, S.D., was a 2011 All-Big 12 indoor performer in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs. He earned All-Big 12 honors in the outdoor season in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. He also ran the third-best time in school history in the 3,000, finishing in 7 minutes, 56.04 seconds. He also earned All-America honors in cross country last year.

Meanwhile, Williams, from Denver, Colo., is looking to be a three-time all-conference pick in the indoor 3,000-meter run. He was also All-Big 12 in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs during the 2011 outdoor season.

He set a collegiate best in the mile earlier this year – all this while maintaining a 3.4 GPA.

“It’s the college experience some guys are looking for,” Williams said. “It might not be the traditional one, but if you were looking for that, you wouldn’t have decided to be a student-athlete.”