Mendota's Willis headed to state track meet in 2 events

Lydia Willis of Mendota grimaces as she prepares to let fly with the shot put during the LaSalle-Peru Class 2A Sectional on May 8. (Reporter photo)

LaSALLE – The Mendota Lady Trojans will have one representative in the IHSA State Track Meet after the team participated in the LaSalle-Peru Class 2A Sectional on May 8 at the L-P Sports Complex.

Senior Lydia Willis will be making the trip south after she claimed first-place honors in the discus and the shot put in the sectional. Willis knew she had landed a place in the state tournament in the discus after her first toss of the day sailed 114-0, more than a foot farther than the IHSA’s state qualifying standard of 112-5. But she ended up topping her first throw by a wide margin when her best effort of the day sailed 127-7. She topped the second-place distance by more than 20 feet.

At the conclusion of all sectionals, Willis has the fourth best discus throw in the state heading into the state meet.

In the shot put, Willis was sitting in a tie for second place after the preliminaries, but she stepped it up a notch in the finals and ended up winning the event with a throw of 36-3. The second-place measurement was 35-7.

This will be Willis’s second trip to the state tournament after she qualified and placed 12th in the state in the discus as a sophomore in 2017. She finished second in the sectional with a throw of 113-4, then took 12th place in the state with a toss of 111-11.

Mendota sophomore Teghan Tillman narrowly missed joining her teammate at state. Tillman finished in third place in the long jump at 16-5.75. The top two finishers in each event earn automatic berths in the state meet.

The Lady Trojans finished seventh in the team standings out of 15 schools with 29.25 points. Geneseo captured the sectional title with 113 points, far outdistancing second-place Rock Falls, which had 74 points.

The IHSA Class 2A State Track Meet will be held May 16-18 at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

May 8 – LaSalle-Peru

Class 2A Sectional

Geneseo 113, Rock Falls 74, New Lenox (Providence Catholic) 73.25, Kankakee (Sr.) 71, Herscher 37, LaSalle-Peru 33, Mendota 29.25, Morris 24, Pontiac 22, Sandwich 21.25, Kewanee 17, Streator 13, Princeton 12.25, Plano 12, Coal City 6

Mendota 1st place: Lydia Willis, discus, 127-7; Willis, shot put, 36-3

Mendota 3rd place: Teghan Tillman, long jump, 16-5.75

Mendota 5th place: Abby Phalen, triple jump, 33-2.75

Mendota 6th place: Tillman, high jump, 4-7; Devin Wade, pole vault, 7-1

Mendota 7th place: Phalen, long jump, 15-8.75

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