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Originally published Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Skyline's Kasen Williams is boys high school athlete of the year

Sophomore won state high-jump title, plays basketball and is heavily-recruited football receiver.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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On the final day of the state track meet, before one of the most anticipated high-jump competitions in years, Aaron Williams pulled his son Kasen aside.

"You're going to shock the world today," dad said.

The son thought about it, and responded: "Uh, probably not, dad."

But Aaron Williams had seen enough to know better. In an incredible nine-month span, he had watched his son make leaping catches and drag piles of defenders on his back. He had seen an unbelievable amount of scholarship offers pour into their mailbox. He knew there was no limit to what Kasen Williams could do.

And moments later, Kasen Williams leaped 6 feet 10 inches in the air, easily clearing the bar to wipe out his personal record by four inches and win his first state track title.

"By then, I was like, 'maybe I am shocking the world,' " he said.

And here's the most shocking part: Kasen Williams, The Seattle Times' boys athlete of the year, is only a sophomore at Skyline High School. But he is already one of the state's most talented football players, a starter on the basketball team and one of the stars of last weekend's state track meet.

"Kasen, he's just unbelievable," Skyline football coach Mat Taylor said.

On a team with three other future college receivers, Williams was Skyline's leader in receiving yards (939) and catches (56), and rarely were they ever routine. He caught the winning touchdown in the corner of the end zone against Bothell in the KingCo 4A championship game. Against Ferris in the state semifinals, he made a diving catch in the end zone, keeping a foot down inbounds as he stretched out all 6 feet 2 inches of his body to make the catch.

And late in the state-championship game, Williams acrobatically brought in a 40-yard pass that set up the winning touchdown.

"He's as gifted as you'll ever see from a kid catching a ball at his age," Taylor said. " I've had coaches tell me he's the best receiver they've ever seen in this state. Some colleges will say, 'He would start for us right now.' "

A who's who of BCS contenders fill the list of colleges courting Williams. Florida and Alabama, along with Washington, are among the 11 schools that have already offered scholarships. But as many top recruits and several of his football teammates focus only on football all year, Williams doesn't see himself changing.

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"I see it as I'm getting ready for football as well by doing the other sports, but I'm just doing it in another way," Williams said. "They're lifting and getting bigger, I'm getting more conditioning. Basketball works on your agility, and track works on your foot speed."

Like his father, who played receiver at Washington, Kasen Williams hopes to also run track in college, and he might be just as valued as a track recruit — especially after the display he put on last weekend. Along with his unexpected title in the high jump, he finished second in the triple jump and third in the long jump.

Kasen Williams has already surpassed his dad's top mark in the high jump, but Aaron's records of over 50 feet in the triple jump and more than 24 feet in the long jump still stand in the Williams' Sammamish house.

"I'm going to keep pushing harder and harder to get where he was at," Kasen Williams said.

Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or twyrwich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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