On Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, Cheltenham senior Janelle Williams was recognized for signing a letter of intent to continue her cross country/track career at Boston University. Check back for a gallery of photos.
Janelle Williams – Boston University (Cross Country & Track)
Final list of colleges: BostonU, Lehigh, Bucknell
Reasons for choosing BU: “I mainly chose Boston because of the location and because of the program. I love to be in the city – I’m a city girl coming from Philadelphia. I just love the surrounding area and the resources that Boston has to offer me, and Boston has a rich running culture too, a lot of running events are held there.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in cross country and track at the collegiate level? “Entering my freshman year in high school, I knew that I wanted to run in college, D1 specifically. I always had those goals in mind, and I always used that as motivation to keep progressing and fighting. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Cross country coach Drew Magaha says: “Janelle is different than anybody I’ve ever coached. She’s a competitor and she lives the champion lifestyle, which is great as well. She always shows up to practice, handles business, and even at meets, a lot of the girls really look up to her because she goes in there as a professional, handles her business and moves on to the next thing. As a distance runner and cross country athlete, she’s doing this year round. Whereas a lot of the track athletes, they only have a couple of seasons they need to focus on, but Janelle has to be on point all year round.
“Her journey has been pretty cool too. She always thought she was more of a middle distance runner and kind of a speedy type of girl. I took one look at her when I came here a couple of years ago, and I said, ‘Nope, you’re going to run distance.’ She was really reluctant towards it, but she’s kind of embraced it, and that goes along with her professionalism. She was like, ‘Okay, I’m a 5k girl now, I’m going to go and show the world what I can do.
“As a captain, she’s been someone who I can rely on to really set the tone for the rest of the team as well because she’s so professional about what she does. She’s really a fantastic asset for us, and I’m sad to see her go.”
Track & field coach Jerome Lowery says: “Janelle Williams has progressed well over the past four years at Cheltenham High School. I remember when I first came to Cheltenham, and she was a sophomore. Just watching how she has transitioned from an underclassman to being a leader as a junior and a senior – she’s always been an important part of the Cheltenham team as well as the cross country team. She has an extensive amount of care for her teammates, not only in the way in which she performs on the track but at every meet. She’s always a team player. She runs countless events at a lot of our dual meets and championships. I think one of her greatest accomplishments was making it to states for cross country. In her junior year, she made it to states in the mile, and that was one of the goals she set for herself for the year, so it was great to be able to see her accomplish that as a junior and moving into her senior year. Making it to states in the distance event is very hard because in District One for the PIAA – it’s only the best of the best. Most people who advance through District One will go on to get a medal at the Pennsylvania Outdoor Track and Field State Championships. For her to be able to make it and compete in states in her junior year, it’s going to be great to see the awesome things she’ll be able to do in her senior year. It has been an honor to be one of the coaches who has had a part in her accomplishing her goals. It’s always great when you have young athletes who grow up and they accomplish the goals that they set forth for themselves.”
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite movie: Clueless
Favorite music: Pop