Upper Iowa's Williams overcomes heavy odds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Upper Iowa's Williams overcomes heavy odds

Posted: Updated:
FAYETTE (KWWL) -

From an early age wrestling was infused in Maleek Williams' blood.

“My uncle wrestled for the high school I went to,” Williams recalled, “My mom took me to all his matches, and I fell in love with the sport there.”

That love led to 4 Florida high school state tournament appearances, a state runner up finish his senior year, and eventually nearly 1,400 miles to the north at Upper Iowa University. A place where he hopes to make up for that loss in his final high school match.

“I've been planning on being a national champ ever since I lost in the state finals my senior year,” said Williams.

Early in the season, however, Maleek Williams goals took a detour when instead of working out on the mat he found himself in a bed in Waterloo's Allen Hospital.

That was November 10, but a week prior when brushing his teeth was when Maleek realized there was a problem.

“When I went to brush my right side, my arm was limp, and wouldn't go anywhere, and the toothpaste was running out the left side of my mouth. I thought this was different, but didn't expect anything of it.

Later in the day when a teammate noticed Maleek was slurring his speech, it was clear that he needed help.

“When they did a CAT scan, it showed I had a stroke,” he recalled, “The only time a stroke shows up on a CAT scan is when it happened at least 3 hours prior to the scan.”

Doctors found a possible cause, a hole found in a heart valve requiring surgery, which briefly had Maleek questioning his wrestling future.”

“After the stroke I asked if I'd ever wrestle again,” he said, “Nurses were telling me no. Doctors said probably not this season.”

Both predictions proved to be wrong, and 8 weeks later Maleek was back in the wrestling room training. Less than 3 weeks after that, he had his first match.

“Even though I had won the battle, being that I had a stroke and was back on the mat,” he said, “I wanted to prove to myself that I could get back to where I was.”

He did just that picking up an 8-5 win in that match, but the big shocker occurred a few weeks later when a second place finish at regionals sent him to the Division 2 NCAA meet.

“I wasn't going to leave that tournament without punching my ticket to the national tournament –“

In the end, Maleek lost both matches at the NCAA's, but still making it there just months after a stroke and going through open heart surgery has him hungry for the future.

“I have goals that are far higher than just being a national qualifier again next year.“

  • SPORTSMore>>

  • ISU's Wigginton wins Big 12 Newcomer of the Week

    ISU's Wigginton wins Big 12 Newcomer of the Week

    Monday, January 15 2018 10:54 PM EST2018-01-16 03:54:51 GMT

    Wigginton wins Big 12 honor

    More >>

    Wigginton wins Big 12 honor

    More >>
  • UNI's Pickford MVC Newcomer of the Week

    UNI's Pickford MVC Newcomer of the Week

    Monday, January 15 2018 10:49 PM EST2018-01-16 03:49:54 GMT

    For the second time this season University of Northern Iowa freshman guard Tywhon Pickford has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Conference's Men's Basketball Newcomer of the Week.

    More >>

    For the second time this season University of Northern Iowa freshman guard Tywhon Pickford has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Conference's Men's Basketball Newcomer of the Week.

    More >>
  • UNI beats Valpo 81-76 to snap 7 game losing streak

    UNI beats Valpo 81-76 to snap 7 game losing streak

    Saturday, January 13 2018 10:57 PM EST2018-01-14 03:57:54 GMT
    The UNI en's basketball team holds off Valparaiso 81-76 to snap a seven game losing streak and win its first Missouri Valley game of the season. The Panthers got career scoring games out of freshmen Tywhon Pickford (23 points/9 rebounds) and Austin Phyfe (20 points/8 rebounds). Phyfe a freshman from Waverly-Shell Rock got the start tonight ahead of senior Bennett Koch. UNI led by as many as 15 points in the first half and stretched the advantage to 23 points in the second half. The ...More >>
    The UNI en's basketball team holds off Valparaiso 81-76 to snap a seven game losing streak and win its first Missouri Valley game of the season. The Panthers got career scoring games out of freshmen Tywhon Pickford (23 points/9 rebounds) and Austin Phyfe (20 points/8 rebounds). Phyfe a freshman from Waverly-Shell Rock got the start tonight ahead of senior Bennett Koch. UNI led by as many as 15 points in the first half and stretched the advantage to 23 points in the second half. The ...More >>
Powered by Frankly