EUGENE, Ore. -- Life on the track comes easy for Lane’s Mason Williams. Life outside the track has been anything but simple.
“Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we had to move to Portland," Williams said. "I mean I can recall seeing videos of the damage the hurricane actually had caused. It’s like, I’ve really been a part of that damage.”
Not only did Williams move to an unfamiliar place, but he was diagnosed with Autism the same year.
“Some of the challenges are sensory overload, sensitivity to sound, touch," Williams said. It’s almost like someone yelling extremely loud in my ear.”
School and sports were tough until he found the Special Olympics. Williams became a track star taking first in multiple races in the 2016 games.
Just like in any race, Williams always strives to go one step further. That’s where he found his lane at Lane Community College.
“I ran a couple of tests with him to see what he was doing," Lane assistant track and field coach Gino Brown said. "He was just way faster then what he needed to be to get on to some Division II, Division I program. So, I was excited to let him in.”
Williams is in his first season at Lane, competing in the 200 meter. His goal is to compete for the Oregon track and field team.
“He doesn’t really let anything hold him back," Brown said. "He’s just going to try to be the first one to the finish line. Anybody with that kind of mentality has the ability to be successful.”
Williams hopes his story helps others dealing with similar problems.
“You have a gift. Don’t let your disability try to affect you in anyway."