By Jeremy McDonald
MILLS CITY, Ore.– As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work to get an opportunity to the collegiate level. At any level. Fromm Junior College to Four-Year Colleges.
At a smaller school like, say 2A like Santiam, you’ll have to step up your game even more to get a chance.
For Liliana Lyness, when she signed her Letter of Intent to Throw at Western Oregon University, it was the top of the hill of the hard-work coming to fruition come Signing Day.
“It has been my dream to go to college for track and field since freshman year, it has been very important to me in trying to find balance in everything I was participating in to achieve my goal,” said Lyness. “Coming from a small school like Santiam definitely makes you have to work harder and push yourself to be noticed and I couldn’t have done it worth out the support system I have in my parents and this amazing small community.”
Looking to further her education, looking to become a pediatric registered nurse while furthering her throwing career as a shot-putter and hammer thrower is a blessing said Lyness.
The juggling act of maintaining her 3.72 GPA, working full-time February through September her Junior Year while maintaining a healthy diet and working out to being able to reach State her freshman, sophomore and junior Year was no easy task. But it taught Lyness how to preserver and make her dream an reality.
“It taught me how to persevere when I didn’t think I was good enough,” Lyness started. “It showed me that I can push myself harder than anyone else could and amazing things would come out of my hard work. If I just believed in myself and when I didn’t believe in myself nothing good would come of it. It showed me that I am strong minded and that I never give up.”
After her tenth-place her freshman year Lyness answered with a vengeance the following year, finishing third at State with a through of 36-feet-0.75-inches. Finishing three-feet behind State Winner Catylynn Duff of Culver.
The eye-opening experiences of State those two years, then to follow it up with a sixth-place finish last Spring as a Junior, helped calm the nerves and excitement for the most part of those big stages she was in at State moving into college.
“It was a huge eye opener for me to see that all of those huge fields were where college athletes practiced and competed on every day,” said Lyness. “Being able to experience state for so many years definitely helped me become more acquainted with the atmosphere of competing under what felt like such huge excitement and nervousness.”
Some of that excitement and nervousness has returned no doubt with the collegiate stage ahead for the Wolverine Senior. Some of that too probably comes with knowing of the competition, but also too she’ll be adding one more throw to her work-load at the next level that she’ll no doubt tackle head on as she did with shot put:
The Hammer Throw.
“I think It’s more of an excited nervousness in trying out the hammer throw. It’s a very dangerous event but I am extremely excited to have a new event to push myself to be good at it and be able to work hard on something I’ve never done before. I would definitely say my mom is more nervous than me.” Said Lyness of the new event.