MASTERS TRACK & FIELD: Local athlete Bill Wilson claims 8 medals at Huntsman World Senior Games | TheUnion.com

MASTERS TRACK & FIELD: Local athlete Bill Wilson claims 8 medals at Huntsman World Senior Games

Masters athlete Bill Wilson is a force to be reckoned with.

And, he has quite the treasure trove of medals to prove it.

Wilson, a Rough and Ready resident who competes in track and field as well as softball, recently added eight more medals to his continually growing collection after claiming six golds and two silvers at the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.

"I just keep adding events," said Wilson, who competed in his first Huntsman Games 11 years ago. "I started with softball, and my wife saw all the other sports there and asked me what I did in high school. I told her, 'I did the broad jump and the high jump and ran the relay,' so she said 'I'm going to sign you up for next year.' The next year came and I won the long jump."

Fast forward 11 years and Wilson has developed into an accomplished Masters athlete who regularly lands on top of podiums across several events.

Wilson, who competes in the men's 75-79 age group, collected golds in the long jump, the standing long jump, the 50-meter race, the 100, the 200 and as a player on the 70-and-over Northern Express softball team. He grabbed silver in the high jump and the triple jump. His eight medals at the Huntsman Games matched his largest haul from any one single event. He now has 74 medals in total since he began competing in Masters athletics.

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Wilson, who is also a member of the local Sierra Gold Masters track and field team, has been especially dominant in the long jump event, taking home gold at the Huntsman Games 10 of the last 11 years.

Making Wilson's journey more impressive is how it came to be.

When Wilson first moved to Nevada County 12 years ago, he was planning on delving into the world of fly fishing. But a detour during his move from West Marin took him past a sign for the Gold Country Senior Softball League.

"Right then, I said 'I can play softball better than I can see tying a hook on a fishing line,' so the gear I bought to go fly fishing is still in the closet not used," Wilson said with a chuckle.

Wilson credits his trainer Steve Conrad for keeping him motivated and helping him maintain his ability to compete at an elite le­vel.

"I just love Steve Conrad and his philosophy on training," Wilson said.

He also expressed gratitude to Fit Culture Studio owner Joey Bratton and fellow Masters athletes and Huntsman Games competitors Taylor Welz and Bob Thurman for aiding him along the way.

And, for Wilson, there is no end in sight. Only a drive to continue competing and to collect more medals.

"I'm going to keep at it as long as I can maintain," he said. "I'm going to keep working at it."

Other local athletes who found success at the Huntsman Games include Welz, Thurman and James Beckett.

Welz, competing in the men's 55-59 division, earned a silver in the triple jump, a silver in the long jump and a bronze in the high jump.

Thurman, a regular at the Huntsman Games, grabbed silver in both the standing long jump and the long jump.

Sierra Gold track and field team member Jim Beckett, known as "Vacaville Jim," also had a strong showing. Competing in the men's 80-84 division, Beckett won the 3,000, the 1,500 and the 800. He set a new record in the 3,000 as well, notching a time of 16 minutes, 18.25 seconds.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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