Moving to a new town or a new school can be very challenging for teenagers.
Imagine moving to another country as a 16-year-old.
That’s what Calhoun senior Sebastian Willer did in between his sophomore and junior years when his dad, Michael, moved his family to Calhoun from Germany because of his job with Engineered Floors.
Since then, Willer has found his niche at Calhoun, and has stood out, both figuratively and literally, as an athlete for the Jackets.
Willer, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 265 pounds, immediately took up football after the move and has since been a big part of the Jackets’ success on the field as a defensive end and tight end.
He played well enough over the last two years to catch the eye of college scouts as he will continue his football career next fall at Georgia State on a scholarship.
This spring, he joined the Calhoun track team, and all he’s done since is win two individual state titles and rewrite the Jackets’ record-books in the shot put and discus. He only finished second in each event one time apiece this season.
Recently, the Calhoun Times caught up with Willer to talk about his recent success at the Boys State Track Meet, his time as a Calhoun football player, what it was like to move to a new country, his best memories as an athlete at Calhoun and how excited he is to get started at Georgia State, among other things. Here’s what he had to say:
CT: What was it like winning two state titles a few weeks ago at the State Track Meet in Jefferson? Were you expecting to do that and what were your feelings when you did?
Willer: Before I got there, I always talked with the coaches about ranking in the state and who was around me and threw better than me. I knew in discus I was on top, and nobody was really that close to me distance-wise. So the week before, I just worked on consistency. That’s what mattered, not just getting one really far out there, but keeping it consistent on that level. In shot put, I knew there were two kids that had better distances than me, but I knew whoever had the best day at State was going to win it. At the beginning, I went with safe throws just to get into the finals and the spot I wanted to be in to compete for the state title. Then I went all out on my last throws. It’s something you work for because you want to make your coaches proud, and when you spend that much amount of time working toward it, you don’t want to waste it.
CT: This was your first season on the track team. Why do you think you were able to pick it up and succeed so fast?
Willer: I think it was just something that made sense to me. It wasn’t something that was ridiculously hard to do. You just listen to the coaches and do what you’re supposed to do. It’s the same thing in football. If you listen, and do what you’re supposed to do, everything just falls into place somehow. Then I went to track meets and saw how other kids do it. I started to copy other people’s styles, and I looked up stuff on Youtube from the Olympics. And I just figured out what style and throw fits me well. I just kept working and got better and better.
CT: Talk about moving over here and what that was like. How long did it take you to adjust?
Willer: We moved here the summer before my junior year. The moving part wasn’t a big problem. What got me at the beginning was the new people. In Calhoun, it’s like everybody knows everybody so it was a little hard to find a place there. But when I started playing football, that helped a lot. I got along with the players really good, and the coaches were supporting me. And the teachers have all been helpful. Another big thing was the language. I just had to pick up as much stuff as I could. I knew a little English when I came over here, but I always asked everyone to say things again or say it slower. I picked up on it quick, though, and listened in my English classes.
CT: Talk about playing American football. What was it like when you started over here?
Willer: I knew football from Germany because we had a pro team over there. I liked to go watch them play, and I started to play the year before we came over here. But over there, it’s like rec football. I just liked it from the beginning. It’s something I enjoyed doing. It just amazes me the perfection you have to put into one spot to make it all fit together. When I came here, the coaches were really nice to me, and they told me if I worked hard, I would get my chance. They told me that what would get me into college football would be effort so I put a lot of effort into it. I guess it helps that I’m 6-6 too.
CT: Take us back to last fall. What was your last season at Calhoun like? How tough was it to fall a little short in the state championship game against Jefferson?
Willer: I don’t think we fell short. I feel like we had an amazing season. I didn’t think I played very good the first few games, but I watched film and got better. We accomplished something as a team. I believe that is really, really good because if you look at our senior class, I feel like we stood up pretty well to the task in front of us. The team wasn’t as focused as we should’ve been at the state championship game, but I thought we still had a great season.
CT: What is your favorite memory as an athlete at Calhoun?
Willer: The first thing that I think about is winning the state title (in football) my junior year. That was just amazing. The experience was unbelievable. And then pretty much everything, looking back on it, what I accomplished in the last two years with the help of the coaches athletically and academicly. I’m pretty happy about how all this turned out. I’m just ready for the next step.
CT: How excited are you to continue your football career at Georgia State?
Willer: I’m ready. I’ve been looking forward to it since our football season ended. That’s just how I am. As soon as the season is over, I’m tired of it because my body is exhausted. Then two weeks after, I’m ready for it again. It’s just a pain to wait that long. I’m just working on getting faster and stronger now so I’ll be ready (for Georgia State).
Food: Spaghetti and meatballs
Fast Food: Taco Bell
TV Show: Vikings
Band/Artist: Rick Ross
College: Georgia State
Nickname: The Big German
Female Celebrity: Megan Fox