NORMAN — Growing up, William Gilbert-Harmon wasn’t very big. Compared to the other boys his age, he was small for his age and they didn’t hesitate to remind him of it.
But then a strange thing happened to Gilbert-Harmon. He grew up. Now the junior at Southmoore High is using the taunts he received as a kid to his advantage to become one of the top hurdlers in the state.
“They thought I was just a short shrimp back when I was little,” Gilbert-Harmon said. “I got kind of bigger. Almost 6-foot now. So, I’m working. I knew I was going to be successful. My parents told me and they are the ones that kept me going.”
Working has been Gilbert-Harmon’s key to climbing up the 300-meter ladder as he eyes becoming the best in the state. He has the sixth fastest time in class 6A with a 40.54. That’s less than a second off the top time of 39.70.
“His season is coming along perfectly,” assistant track coach Shanon Atkinson said. “It’s going really well. Progressing really well. Each week, he’s getting better and better and better. We just have to go back to the drawing board and work on those last two hurdles. That’s what’s keeping him right now from running high 38 or low 39s.”
After a few close attempts, Gilbert-Harmon won his first race of the season two weeks ago at the John Jacob’s Invitational in Norman. Yet, even though he ran a personal best, a couple of missteps near the end kept him from breaking the 39-second barrier.
But that didn’t discourage him.
“I described this moment better than all my other races,” Gilbert- Harmon said. “Just trying to work my way up to state. Just need to work harder, come with a better mindset and I think I will do good. Expectation is to get a 39. I’m almost there. I think I am on my way.”