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Willcox thrilled with induction

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

ALBANY -- Jason Willcox kept the voicemail. He still has it.

"I was shocked,'' Willcox said of the his reaction to being named into the Albany Sports Hall of Fame. "When I got the voicemail from Bob Fowler (the president of the Albany Sports Hall of Fame), I kept it. He didn't tell me anything. He just said to call him back. I still have the voicemail.''

Willcox, a 39-year-old attorney who practices in Albany, has had a lifetime of achievements, from his days as a kid winning national BMX titles to his days at Westover High School, where he won track titles and had an undefeated state championship season in cross country, to being a star at Georgia ,to his accomplishments as an All-America Triathlon and Ironman competitor.

"He really has done it for a lifetime,'' Fowler said. "Based on his track history at Westover and his accomplishments in the triathlete and Ironman competitions we felt he was a great (choice) for the Albany Hall of Fame. He represents the kind of athlete we want to recognize.''

Willcox will be inducted at the 24th annual Albany Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Monday at the Albany Civic Center.

"I don't know that it has fully sunken in yet,'' Willcox said. "It's certainly an honor to be recognized by your contemporaries and athletes for the accomplishments you have achieved. It's quite an honor.''

Willcox has been making headlines for years. He was the national BMX champion at the age of 12, and running in distance events from as far back as he can remember.

"There was a field day at school and someone figured I would be good at the distance, and I ran and won,'' Willcox said. "And they used to have all-comers meets in Albany in the summer, and I would run in those (when I was 9, 10 years old). I can't remember if I won or not. Everybody got a ribbon. It was just fun.''

Willcox was a star at Westover, where he was the leader on the cross country and track teams. He was the region champ and state runner-up at 3,200 meters and the 1,600 meter region champ. Willcox not only was an unbeaten state cross country champ in 1988, but he was also an AAU All-American, finishing seventh in the nation in 1987.

He earned a scholarship to Georgia and was a star runner for the Bulldogs as a freshman finishing second in the SEC in cross country championships, and becoming the only freshman to run in SEC and NCAA region competitions. He later ran the 3,000 meter steeple chase for Georgia.

As an adult, Willcox was an honorable mention All-American in the Triathlon, and competed in the Ironman competition in 2005.

"That's tough, competing in those,'' Fowler said.

Willcox said he owes a lot to Westover cross country and track coach On Clayton.

"He had a big impact on me as a runner. He knew what he was doing, but honestly, one of the biggest things he did for me was not athletically, but academically,'' Willcox said. "If you ran for him you had to be in his 8 o'clock study hall every morning. There were people in there to help with (subjects.

"He wanted you to be in the 3.0 GAP club, and because of him my grades improved right along with my running. As I sit here now and look at my career (as an attorney) I really think of everything he did for me.''