HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – After three years, a pair of state championship rings and countless school records in her name, Liberty County’s Leia Williams can’t imagine herself anywhere else than in the cage or the circle.
“The first time I threw it, I just fell in love with it,” the junior discus and shot put star said. “I love the feel of it, the thrill, all the techniques that you have to learn with it. It was amazing.”
It’s a path that has led her to incredible success at the high school level, but it’s also a lane she nearly didn’t explore. Williams was originally interested in joining the Liberty County High School track and field team because of the 400-meter race, until the coaches saw her pure strength on display.
“The throws coach, he came over and was like ‘Yes, I need her,'” Williams remembered.
The rest is history.
The same year she picked up a discus for the first time, Williams won a state championship for it. Last year, she added a state title in the shot put and a runner-up in the discus competition. It raises the question – where did all of this strength come from?
“I always tell my mom it’s because I drank milk all the time,” Williams said with a smile. “It probably isn’t that. She always wanted me to be athletic so, ever since I was little, I’ve been in sports.”
Volleyball and softball were a big part of her life and softball is to this day. In fact, Williams had a softball game a few hours after our sports team met her for the first time Monday afternoon. That didn’t stop her from getting a workout in at the Liberty County High School track.
“When I get into a sport, I like to understand it really well so that I can be amazing at it because what’s the point of doing it if you aren’t good at it?”
College coaches have take notice of this Hinesville phenom. Williams has already raked in scholarship offers from schools in the north and recently got back from visits to Florida International University and the University of Miami.
“I can’t even put into words how proud I am of myself and how thankful I am to all my coaches and my parents and everyone who supported me,” Williams added.
While earning a scholarship to continue doing what she loves would be a massive step, it’s not Williams’ end goal. That would be reserved for the Olympics — a chance to compete against the best of the best and represent Team USA on the world’s biggest stage.
“That’s my path,” Williams said matter-of-factly. “I just want to have that experience throwing with the people that I’ve watched on YouTube. Especially with all the new athletes that are coming up. I just love this sport and want to meet new people.”