Scholar Athlete Finalist: Tulare Western's William Huffaker

Tulare Western senior cross country and track runner William Huffaker is one of three area finalists for a scholar athlete scholarship award.

During telecasts of our Friday Night Rivals high school football games this past season on CW59, we featured Lithia Subaru Scholar Athletes. This week, FOX26 Your Hometown Sports Connection reporter Nick King tells us about the three finalists vying for one scholarship. In this one, we meet Tulare Western senior William Huffaker.

William Huffaker is wise beyond his years.

Tulare Western cross country and track & field coach Michael Young says, "He's one of the few athletes that truly, truly, truly internalizes it so that his teammates' performances are as important to him as his own."

As a senior, William was team captain for Tulare Western's cross country as well as track and field teams, where he's one of the Mustangs' top distance runners.

"His work ethic is kind of inspirational to the team," says Young.

"As the years have passed and as I've put more work into it, that's what's caused me to enjoy it more," says William. "Because at the beginning - going five or six miles - I wasn't super happy when I'd get back. But now, I can't go a day without having a run."

William is also an Eagle Scout - an honor earned after nine years of work with scouting, that included many service projects. And he continues cleaning up parks and spending time in nature as president of the school's Environmental Club.

"The area around Tulare isn't hustle and bustle," says William. "But sometimes it's kind of nice to kind of appreciate the world, kind of how it used to be."

In the classroom, William sports a 4.35 gpa, and he's taken 7 AP classes.

"It sounds bad, but I've always been smart, you know," says William. "And I'm not taking that for granted, I appreciate that a lot. So I'm going to use that ability and do the best I can with it."

William also had to take care of himself and his sisters for almost a month in the fall, while his parents were in San Francisco. Will's dad was receiving a liver transplant.

William then saw his dad for the first time live on a Friday Night Rivals broadcast.

"It was good to know that my family unit was going to be there again, where it hadn't been for a while," says William.

William Huffaker is someone his Mustangs teammates follow. Someone who's dedicated to his school, his studies, his community. He's wise beyond his years.

"He is a multifaceted individual," says Young, his coach. "The most dependable, reliable, hard working young men that I can think of. I would trust him with my dog, that's saying a lot."

William plans to go to COS for the next two years, before going to film school.

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