Willis named Wisconsin Girls Track Athlete of the Year
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
Roisin Willis capped her freshman season on the Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) girls track team by being named the 2018-19 Gatorade Wisconsin Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
Currently a sophomore at SPASH, Willis won the 800 run at the WIAA Division 1 State Meet in La Crosse May 31, as she finished in 2:05.68 to break the previous Division 1 state record of 2:09.22.
Willis’ time also set a United States freshman record in the 800 run, as she eclipsed the previous national freshman record of 2:05.7 that she set at the New Balance National Indoor Meet in New York City March 10.
Willis also anchored the 4×400 relay team for SPASH that won the WIAA Division 1 State Title June 1.
Two weeks later, Willis won the 800 run at the Brooks PR Invitational June 15 at the Husky Outdoor Track at the University of Washington in Seattle.
There, she ran a personal best 2:04.86 in the 800 run, which was the second-best time in the United States in 2019, and the third-best performance in meet history.
She also ranked in the Top 70 nationally in both the 400 dash and the 1,600 run.
Willis became the second Gatorade Wisconsin Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year from SPASH, as Suzy Favor won in 1985-86, which was the first year Gatorade began its State Athlete of the Year Awards.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track.
Willis plays violin at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Aber Suzuki Center and has volunteered locally at the Portage County Cultural Festival. She maintained a 3.96 GPA heading into this school year.
“Roisin is a naturally gifted track athlete,” said D.C. Everest head coach Greg Peterson. “She has a rare combination of speed and endurance that I have not seen since the mid-1980s. Roisin could do well at any distance in Wisconsin track.”