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updated 6:02 AM, May 6, 2021 America/Chicago

Boyce follows family footsteps, signs with Sam

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Boyce FamilyJASON CHLAPEK I PCE Onalaska senior William Boyce (seated) signs a National Letter of Intent with Sam Houston State University to run cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field Wednesday afternoon at Onalaska High School. Joining Boyce is (standing from left) sisters Ginny and Katie Boyce, mother Terri Boyce and father Charles Boyce.

By Jason Chlapek

ONALASKA – It could be said that the Blue and Orange of Sam Houston State University runs through William Boyce’s veins.

His parents, Charles and Terri Boyce, met at the school. His paternal grandparents attended there as well.

On Wednesday, William signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field at SHSU, making him a third-generation Bearkat. He also hinted that although other schools were in contact with him, SHSU was always the front-runner.

“Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to go to Sam,” Boyce said. “My parents graduated from there and my dad’s parents graduated from there. It’s always been close to home and close to my heart.”

Not only is Boyce going to be a third-generation student at SHSU, but he’ll also be a second-generation athlete at the school. His mother, Onalaska cross country and girls track and field coach Terri (Sheppard) Boyce, played basketball for the Lady Kats from 1996-2000.

While Boyce still has his senior track and field season coming up, in which he’ll participate in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs, he had a decorated cross country career at Onalaska, which included a Class 3A state championship, a Region III-3A championship and a District 23-3A championship this past season. Throughout his four-year tenure, Boyce had four trips to the region meet, four trips to the state meet, three district championships, a district runner-up, two region championships, a third-place finish in state and a state championship.

“Onalaska has a great legacy in cross country,” Boyce said. “It’s the most successful sport and it helps that we don’t have football. We also have good academics and I’d rather be more sound academically than athletically.”

Following the family footsteps seems to be a trend for Boyce. He plans to major in education and become a teacher and coach.

While Boyce is familiar with cross country in the fall and (outdoor) track and field in the spring, he’s adding indoor track and field to the mix. Indoor track and field season takes place in the winter.

Boyce will continue to run the 1,600 and 3,200 in outdoor track and field, and will run the 1,500 and 3,000 in indoor season. He’ll also run a little more in cross country – 6.2 miles instead of 3.1.

“I’ll have my hands tied with three sports and I won’t have much time to relax,” Boyce said.

While Boyce has career aspirations of being a teacher and coach, he’s keeping his options open if something else happens.

“I might decide to be a professional runner,” Boyce said. “I think that would be fun. I’d always have that degree to fall back on (if it doesn’t work out). Running professionally has never been a big dream of mine so if it doesn’t happen, no big deal. If it does happen, I’ll take advantage of it. If I run in the Olympics, that would be pretty cool, too.”

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