Williams is one-of-four nominees for the Jim Thompson Trophy at the 23rd annual BLG Awards on Monday night at Calgary's Martha Cohen Theatre.
"For almost the whole of my career, I think that this has to be the biggest accomplishment," said Williams prior to Sunday afternoon's reception for all eight male and female award nominees. "I'm grateful and I'm humbled and I'm super excited to be up there with celebrities."
This season, Williams helped her hometown Lancers win their fifth straight Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship and was selected as the tournament's most valuable player.
The celebrities William's referring to are her fellow nominees, which include McGill University basketball player Mariam Sylla from Conakry, Guinea, St. Francis Xavier University rugby player Emma Taylor from Scotsburn, N.S., and Trinity Western University soccer player Jessica King from Liverpool, England.
On the men's side, the nominees up for the Doug Mitchell Trophy are Cape Breton University soccer player Justin Maheu from Ottawa, McGill hockey player Cedric McNicoll from Boucherville, Que., University of Guelph cross country and track and field star Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont., and University of Calgary quarterback Andrew Buckley.
"I'm happy it's in Calgary and it's cool that we get to showcase our city," Buckley, a Calgary native, said. "This is kind of like the pinnacle of college athletics and to take home the top award would be obviously a dream come true."
The two BLG Award winners each will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship. The awards date back to 1993 and are sponsored by and named for the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais.
In addition to being presented with white cowboy hats on Sunday, the eight nominees also each received a custom-made commemorative gold ring.
"I didn't want to miss the luncheon, because getting your rings and getting your hat and everything, it's great to be there when the people are actually around to say thanks and tell them how honoured you are," said Proudfoot, who flew into Calgary on Sunday and just made it in time for the end of the luncheon. Proudfoot was competing at the 2015 Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational hosted by Stanford University a day earlier in Palo Alto, Calif.
Maheu is aiming to become the first athlete from Cape Breton University to win the Doug Mitchell Trophy.
"It means a lot for the Cape Breton community," Maheu said. "It means a lot for Sydney, N.S. It means a lot for Cape Breton University. It relates to academics and athletics, so that's why it means so much more than what it is."
Like his fellow nominees, McNicoll said he's been enjoying the entire experience surrounding the BLG Awards.
"I'm not too nervous because from now on you can't control anything," McNicoll said. "I've already got a lot of recognition for the past two years for the work that I've done, but for sure this is the biggest reward you can get because they're rewarding the best athletes in every sport at the Canadian level."
Sylla immigrated to Montreal from Guinea 10 years ago and the six-foot-one centre has played for the McGill Martlets for the past three seasons.
"Coming here 10 years ago I would never picture myself being in this position here for sure," Sylla said. "Our goal here when my dad brought us all to Canada was to get us a good education, but then sports gave me so many other opportunities and opened more doors for me. I'm really happy and I'm really honoured for sure to be here."
King echoed Sylla's sentiments and added that winning the award would be a great way to cap off her five-year career at Trinity Western University.
"I would love to be able to say thank you to them by winning this for Trinity," said King, who will head home to England later this week to continue pursuing a professional soccer career with Everton Ladies FC. "Obviously it's been a lot of hard work. I feel extremely honoured and privileged to be in this position."Suggest a correction