Noah Williams knew he was fast. He wasn't sure he was the fastest.
Williams, a junior soccer player at Freeburg High School, recorded the fastest time in the 30-yard dash at the annual PepsiCo Showdown, a skills combine held in November in Chicago.
Williams' time of 3.58 seconds ranked first among hundreds of players attending the combine. He edged Herscher junior Jacob Allen (3.65 seconds), Young junior Phillip Denne (3.67), Oakwood senior Travis Peak (3.68) and Marist sophomore Ethan Fit (3.71).
"It's pretty exciting," said Williams, a forward. "I wasn't expecting it at all."
Williams also participated in the event in 2016, finishing "roughly 30th" in the 300.
"Going from 30th to first is a big jump for me," said Williams, the son of Ortarious and Karla Williams. "Just looking at everyone, I thought they were going to be a lot quicker than I was. (But) I wanted to be the fastest there."
Williams also competes in track and field, which has enhanced his quickness. He is a member of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams, the 300 hurdles and the 110 hurdles. Williams' parents also were track athletes and have been instrumental in his development in the sport.
Freeburg's 4 x 400 relay team qualified for the state meet last season, but didn't advance to the finals. Two members of that team graduated, so Williams is seeking a state berth for the 4 x 100 team and the 300 hurdles.
Williams' favorite sport is soccer. He wants to land a scholarship to play in college.
"Track, I really like the social aspect of it," Williams said. "Soccer, you kind of show up and practice and then you're gone. In track, you get together and hang out outside of the sport. I get more out of soccer. I feel more free doing that than track."
Williams had 16 goals and 14 assists last season and was named to the Belleville News-Democrat's all-area second team. He was an honorable-mention all-area pick as a sophomore. Williams, who plays club soccer for St. Louis Scott Gallagher, has 41 goals and 32 assists in three seasons for the Midgets.
Williams said he began to recognize that he was faster than most players when he was in third grade.
"I was like, 'Man, I should actually start using this speed to my advantage instead of holding it back,'" Williams said. "Most of the time, (guys) hit (the ball) to me, I hold onto the ball and cross it in or it's a breakaway. Using my speed really helps."
Freeburg will graduate just six seniors from a team that last season finished 15-11 overall and 5-2 in the Cahokia Conference. The Midgets will return their top four scorers.
"I'm hoping we get past sectionals this year and get that first sectional for the high-school team," Williams said. "I feel like this we have good chance to get further. The team is looking stronger. Hopefully, I can get more goals and assists to help the team more."