senior is up before the sun running the streets of her native Hempstead and nearby Garden City. Riding along closely behind her in the family Nissan is her father, Keith Williams.
The two-mile course through darkened neighborhoods is a ritual father and daughter have abided by three times a week going back since she was 5.
“We used to run together,” the elder Williams said. “Then I got a bike. But I couldn’t keep up. So now I drive the car.”
“Sometimes people will stop and ask, ‘Is he bothering you?’” Olicia Williams said with a smile. “I say, ‘It’s my dad, it’s fine.’ They think he’s following me.”
He was, charting her progress through the odometer, one tenth of a mile at a time.
Those predawn workouts transformed her into a high school track star. The payoff came Wednesday morning in the library of the South Huntington Catholic school when Williams signed her Letter of Intent to run for Baylor University.
Williams is an elite runner – and the rare one – who can star as a sprinter or in distance events. She is the reigning Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA champion in the 600- and 1,000-meter indoor events and the 400 and 800 outdoors. She chose Baylor over track powers Texas A&M and Miami.
Williams was one in a remarkable haul of 30 St. Anthony’s senior athletes who announced college commitments, including a few late signees for lacrosse. There was a similar display of recruits at the in November.
While it was clear why the TV cameras were there – February's National Signing Day is a de facto national holiday for college football faithful – the sheer number and diversity of the teens was impressive.
Six football players, fresh off and riding a 29-game winning streak, offered an imposing standard in both physical and academic terms.
Defensive tackle , the heart of the Friars’ defense and a second-team All-State pick, is headed to Yale while fellow D lineman J.D. Hurt is also headed to the Ivy League and Columbia.
“It was definitely fun getting together and signing,” said offensive lineman Jordan Moskowitz, a Plainview native who will play at Division III Bowdoin. “Look at all the colleges we’re going to.”
The snapshot of the Catholic state champion girls soccer team was just as impressive with nine players signing, led by standout midfielder Margo McGinty. The Levittown senior spurned national power UConn for the academic brawn of Northwestern.
“We had some kids that signed who didn’t break the starting lineup,” St. Anthony’s Girls Soccer said. “We’ve been fortunate to attract some talent here.”
In a school-sponsored event that’s grown in both size and weight, the talent was on display Wednesday for all to see. It was impossible to miss.