KALISPELL -- Forty-eight days have passed since Kenzie Williams and her Kalispell Glacier soccer teammates were celebrating the program's first state championship on the field at the Siebel Soccer Complex in Helena. This week, Williams had more reason to celebrate.
The Kalispell Glacier senior and three-time all-state defender was named to the 2020 United Soccer Coaches fall girls high school all-region team this week, collecting accolades in the all-north region. Williams was one of only three athletes selected to the all-north region team.
The complete list of all-region honorees can be viewed by clicking here.
"I was notified (Tuesday), and it felt very great, very honoring," Williams told MTN Sports on Wednesday morning. "To know I'm one of the best players in the region feels amazing, and knowing that it wasn't just me that got there, but all the help from my family, my parents, my teammates, my coaches, all the time that's been put in, it just feels great to have it all pay off and get that honor."
Williams and the Wolfpack entered the 2020 postseason with a 10-4 record, winning four of the final five games of the regular season to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the Western AA. Glacier blanked Helena Capital 5-0 in the opening round of the playoffs, then defeated Billings Skyview 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
It took overtime, but the Wolfpack defeated Bozeman High 2-1 in the Class AA semifinals to advance the program to its first state championship appearance. Glacier knocked off Helena High 1-0 to clinch the program's first title.
"Honestly, it's still so surreal. It's been more real to me with all the successes I've had personally since then, but it's still so surreal," Williams said of the championship win. "It hasn't quite sunk in, but it's getting closer to being real."
Williams and the Wolfpack defense were stellar all season, allowing only 15 goals in the regular season before giving up only one score in the postseason run. The standout defender added two goals and two assists for six total points in the regular season, and follows in the footsteps of her older sister, former Glacier athlete and Montana Gatorade girls soccer player of the year Cadie Williams, who was named to the United Soccer Coaches all-northwest team as an offensive player in 2017.
"She's actually home right now, so I got to celebrate it with her in person, so that was great," said Kenzie Williams. "I was first nominated as the Class AA player of the year, which I was very honored to get that. I was very humbled by that. Just recently I was named all-north region player by the United Coaches, so that was very honoring and humbling for me to get that honor. To follow in my sister's footsteps, it feels really great to have that.
"I never thought I would get to this point, so knowing that I've accomplished those things, that my team has accomplished those things with me has been great to see. Knowing that all the time in the offseason, all the hard workouts and practices all that paid off to win a state championship, but to go even further for my successes, as well, it all feels so surreal. If I had thought all of this would happen five years ago, I never would have thought that, so it all feels great."
Success has also followed Kenzie Williams in the classroom, where she maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and will graduate this year with AP Merit distinction. She's likely to finish her high school athletic career with 11 varsity letters, and potentially would have collected 12 if not for the coronavirus pandemic canceling last spring's track and field season.
"I feel like I've always been that way, self-motivated, trying to get myself to the best I can be, academically and sports. I feel like I've always been that way," she said. "But it's from the help of my family, as well, they've pushed me to be the best I can be in all aspects of life, so that's very helpful."
Though she's currently undecided on her college future, Williams hopes to throw the javelin at the next level. She placed fifth in the Class AA javelin competition as a sophomore in 2019.
"I'm very excited for it since last year I didn't get to, obviously," she said of her upcoming senior track season. "We'll see where that takes me and hopefully I can throw at the collegiate level after this next season, so I'm looking forward to it."