Noah Williams ’17
Men’s cross country
How did you get into running?
I got into running at a pretty young age. My mom actually got me into it. She ran in college. She was never super competitive, but she really loved it. She is a lifelong runner; she still runs. My family goes to Maine every summer and we go to this island in Penobscot Bay that I really love. She started running when I was there. She would go on trail runs, and I decided to join her one day and I really enjoyed it. So I started out as a trail runner and did middle school cross country on and off. I would run for practice but never really trained a lot. Then, I went to high school and started training a lot more and started getting into the sport.
What was your high school cross country experience like?
It was great. My freshman year was really awesome because we had a huge crew of seniors who were really good and really supportive. I was really the only freshman who had stuck to the training packet during the summer. I figured everyone had done it, but when I got to preseason, I realized that no one had. I got there in pretty good shape, and I was able to make the varsity team. My coach was really awesome. He had been there for 25 or 30 years and he was really well-established. The training worked really well for me. It was pretty consistent and I improved year by year. I improved less than I thought I would as a junior and senior, but I was a captain for my senior year which was really awesome. It was a great experience mainly because of that freshman year and my coach.
What brought you to Williams?
The running was a big part of it for me. I was mainly deciding between Haverford and here. I knew that I wanted to run for a Div. III school, and the NESCACs were a good option. But I really looked at Haverford because of its coach, and here because of Pete [Farwell ’73], our coach. Those were the guys I was most in contact with from those colleges. I had heard that the Williams team was really close and that it was a really good school, but also heard the same thing at Haverford. It was mainly that Pete was really welcoming, and that I really liked the setting. I’m from a pretty similar area in terms of the landscape. I knew that I wanted to be running trails and outside. Honestly, a big reason I chose Williams was the environment and the running.
What are some of your favorite places to run around Williamstown?
Stone Hill is probably my favorite just because it’s so close and it’s such a nice trail. Also, Hopkins Forest, although we have this debate on our team whether Mountain Meadow, a little reserve in Southern Pownal, or Hopkins Forest is better. I’m on the Mountain Meadow side. There’s a sweet overlook and you get really good views of the entire valley, but you get the same thing from Stone Hill and it’s so close.
What has the experience been like this year as a captain?
It’s been stressful, but it’s also been really rewarding. I had an amazing experience here as a freshman. Knowing that I was going to be a captain since last season, I thought about it a lot. My biggest goal was making the team as close as it was when I was a freshman, because it was such a great experience for me. We have a huge class of freshmen, so being there for them and making them feel like a part of the team and welcoming them has been important. It’s been a challenge but it’s gone well, I think. It’s a lot of planning. I’m super grateful to have two co-captains, Peter [Hale ’17] and Nigel [Bates ’17], who have been a huge help. We kind of take on different roles, but I think we work well together. A month in, things are flowing a little better.
What was it like studying abroad in New Zealand?
It was really cool. It is very different from Williams in terms of the amount of free time I had. It was something I had never had before, which was cool. I did a lot of traveling. All of a sudden I wasn’t on a running team, and didn’t have extracurricular stuff. The classes weren’t nearly as challenging as the classes are here. I was studying geology, so I was really focusing on that and on traveling. We traveled all around the South Island. It was a nice time to focus on geology and not as much on running.
What’s your go-to snack bar order?
That’s a good one. (Laughs.) I love the ’82 Grill; gotta love the Grill. So I usually get nachos with barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and chicken.