A blur on both the track and the football field, Saint Louis senior Roman Wilson cemented his legacy as one of Hawaii’s greats at the prep level when he was one of 12 athletes selected to the HHSAA Hall of Honor Class of 2020 on Monday.
“It just means a lot. I’ve put in a lot of work,” Wilson told KHON2. “Just to go down in history as one of the best athletes to come out of Hawaii, it really means a lot to me and my family. I know it means a lot to them, too. I greatly appreciate this.”
Wilson was a receiver for three seasons on the varsity football team, where he totaled 103 receptions, 1,948 yards and 22 touchdowns over his high school career, according to Hawaii Prep World. He led the nationally-ranked Crusaders in receiving yards for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons and was also a first-team All-State selection both years.
On the track, he won the 2019 state gold medal in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.68, just 0.05 seconds shy of the 10.63 HHSAA record set by Christian Padron in 2017. He was also a part of Saint Louis’ 4×100 relay team with Korvin Feagins, Keanu Wallace and Keola Yadao that set the state record at 41.54 during day one of the HHSAA championships last spring.
Wilson’s rise to athletic glory is a story of sacrifice, and a journey that required long nights but longer mornings.
Originally hailing from Maui, Wilson enrolled at Saint Louis before the ninth grade after his parents, Jeff and Colleen, identified it as the school that would maximize his athletic and academic potential. But with it came a grueling commute for Roman. He started by flying from Maui to Saint Louis, then eventually moved to Kapolei without his parents. Both locations provided quite the daily voyage to Kalaepohaku.
“I’d wake up at 4, sometimes 3:30 in the morning, hop on the airplane. Sometimes, I’d catch the bus to school,” Wilson recalls. “A couple times I’d get a ride, but most of the time I’d have to catch the bus from the airport to school and I’d get to school about 8 o’clock so that’s just four hours of traveling I’d have to do in the morning.”
Of course, Wilson wasn’t dismissed by the school bell. After daily practices, he’d stick around and put in extra work. All the while, he exits Saint Louis with a 3.57 GPA and no grades lower than a B.
“Just trusting the process, staying late after practice, showing up on weekends, sometimes having late nights and sometimes before school,” Wilson said. “No one really knows but I think just trusting that process really paid off for me.”
The cancellation of HHSAA spring competition due to COVID-19 meant that Wilson didn’t get to finish his senior track season. Although he expressed disappointment in not getting another opportunity towards breaking Padron’s record, Wilson’s sights are now set towards college, where in the fall, he’ll enroll at the University of Michigan and intends to major in computer engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship.
Wilson, who is a four-star prospect, chose the Wolverines over a dozen other Division I scholarship offers. Regardless of the adversity that comes his way during his time in Ann Arbor, Wilson believes he’ll be well-prepared in seeing it through.
“I don’t want to settle for less, for all the sacrifices that’s been in my life,” Wilson said. “People think that I’m just gonna go there and leave after one year. My mindset is no matter how hard it gets, I’ve been through worse.
“No matter how hard it gets, I just want to keep the best things in my head and make the best out of my situation.”