Track and field athlete sets all-school record
SF State's Johnny Mathis Invitational, held March 21-22, is named for the famous singer who set an SF State high jump record in 1956. The all-school record is now held by Tiana Wills, a senior who’s earning nationwide recognition for her high jump.
With a jump of 1.88 meters (6' 2") Wills set a new SF State record and secured a second place finish at the U.S.A Track and Field Indoor Championships, held in Albuquerque, N.M. earlier this year. Wills, the only SF State student to qualify, competed against two of the nation’s top collegiate athletes and three professional high jumpers.
"Qualifying for the U.S.A. Championships is a tremendous accomplishment," said Interim Head Track and Field Coach Tom Lyons. "Overall, it was an amazing meet for Tiana. It was exciting to see her in our SF State jersey competing at such a prestigious event."
The jump that qualified Wills for the U.S.A. Championships was SF State's previous all-school record, 1.85m (6' 3/4"). Wills said her goal for the U.S.A. Championships was to clear six feet.
"Now I want to jump 6'4" so I can qualify for Olympic training," said Wills, a history major who's been a track and field athlete since her junior year in high school. "Weirdly, this all started with a bet. My mom ran track in high school and bet that I couldn’t win as many medals as her."
The bet long-since won, Tiana Wills has been a standout track and field athlete since transferring to SF State from Riverside Community College in 2012. During her first year as a Gator, she qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II National Championships.
SF State's track and field team has provided Wills with a sense of belonging, she said. "Teammates compete against each other all the time in this sport, but everyone on our team is really supportive," said Wills. "We’re all rooting for each other and congratulating each other on our successes."
Will credits her teammates' encouragement and her own personal determination with helping her succeed. "The training room is basically my second home now," said Wills, "And my teammates are my second family."
Expected to graduate in May, Wills plans to continue competing in track and field competitions independently. In the future she hopes to become a high school history teacher.
SF State’s women's track and field team will compete March 21-22 in the Johnny Mathis Invitational at Cox Stadium. More information about SF State Athletics is available here: http://www.sfstategators.com/index.aspx