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Mar 24, 2018
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

Department of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation: Hall of Fame

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Hugh Willig

Class of 1979, Track & Field

Hugh Willig grew up with a father who always seemed to be running and training for marathons. Hugh, not surprisingly, gravitated towards running as well. As a 6th grader he challenged himself to make the one-mile loop around the block without stopping. After successfully completing the challenge, the “around the block run” became a daily routine that, to this day, he still can’t shake.

Encouraged by parents, gym teachers, and coaches, Hugh began competing before junior high school in Colonie and continued through high school at BH-BL. Both winning and not winning races drove the desire to train harder and run faster. The training paid off, especially under Coach Stevens, as each high school season was better than the previous.

By the end of his senior year, Hugh had amassed a list of accomplishments including: Suburban Council Mile and Two Mile Relay Champion, Section 2 Mile and 1000 Yard Champion, New York State Indoor Mile Champion and third in the Outdoor Mile, and the Section 2 Record Holder in the Mile and 1000 Yard Runs. In addition, Hugh was ranked third in the United States for the 1000 Yard Run after placing third in the Eastern States Championships, and he was the first Section 2 Runner to compete in the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden and the Penn Relays High School Championship of America in the mile.

After graduating in 1979, Hugh competed for the University of Pennsylvania, running Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track all four years. During that time, Hugh set school records in the Indoor 1500m (3:46) and the Indoor 1000m (2:25) and anchored a 4 x 800 relay that made it to the Indoor NCAA Championships. His senior year, he served as Captain of the Track Team and won the Most Valuable Performer Award.

Today, Hugh lives outside Philadelphia near Valley Forge, PA with wife Sally (an All-American 400-meter hurdler) and four children: Ned (18), Matt (16), Anna (14), and Amy (11). He enjoys watching all four compete in running competitions, grimacing as the boys far surpass his high school marks and giving thanks that he does not have to defend any times from the girls. As a boastful father he can proudly claim Ned as the current PA State Record Holder in the Indoor 800m (1:51.2), two- time All American and PA State Indoor Mile Champion (4:15), and All-State for PA Cross Country. Matt and Ned teamed up to win the PA State Indoor Championship in the Distance Medley Relay. Anna remains undefeated this season in the middle school mile and 800m. Amy mostly runs on the soccer field at this point with track a distinct possibility in the future. Hugh still considers any day that he can get out and run a good day. And anytime that he can run with the kids is an even better day.