Former SPASH track star Willis presented with proclamation
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT – Recent SPASH graduate Roisin Willis continued to turn heads, this time on a global stage. Due to her accomplishments last week at the U20 World Athletics Championships and bringing home two gold medals, Mayor Mike Wiza presented Willis with a proclamation on Aug 9 at the Schmeeckle Reserve.
Willis’ track career has been something to keep an eye on for a long time. She first began enjoying running in first grade, giving her a lifetime to perfect the craft. She has done that and more. At the World Athletics Championships last week, Willis came from behind in the final 200m of the 800m final to take gold with a time of 1:59.13. That is a championship record. The record-breaking star said it might never hit her that she broke the record.
“I don’t think it will ever set in,” she said. “I mean, it has been a long year, and to see how far I’ve come, just so much has happened. I’m kind of in awe of everything that has been happening.”
The 800m run might have been the highlight of the Championships, but Willis was also a part of the Girls’ 4×400 relay being the final leg. Team USA won gold with a time of 3:28.06, Willis’ second gold in the championships. With how young Willis is, her emotions turn to her being humble as she’s back in Stevens Point and reflects on her whole experience. She highlights the support she has from her community.
“I’m just so grateful for everything that has happened. I have great support here in this community,” Willis explained. “It’s great to come back to all these people cheering me on. It really means so much.”
If you remember, just a few months ago, Willis became a state champion once again in the 800m run. She broke a state and national record with her 2:00.03 time in the finals. Two months removed, she did something she has never done before. She ran the 800m in under two minutes, this time on a global stage wearing a USA jersey. Willis talked about how she went from one record-running performance to another in such a short time.
“That race at state was very special to me as well,” she started. “I came back here (Stevens Point) and I kept working, put my head down, stayed patient, and just went out there again and tried to give it everything I had. Luckily it resulted in a great time.”
The SPASH graduate will take her talents to California in a short time to be a part of Stanford’s track and field team. She finished by talking about something she looks forward to when she steps on campus.
“I’m so excited to join a team of hard-working athletes,” she stated. “We have a very good team and I think they are going to push me to be the best.”
The support from the community is strong and will continue through Willis’ athletic career.
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