By Ray Hamill — A busy summer for young Lillian Wilson just got a whole lot busier.
The Pacific Union eighth-grader placed first in a pair of events at the Jam On It West Coast AAU Junior Olympic Games in Las Vegas this week and has qualified for the National Junior Olympics early next month.
It will be one of two trips to national tournaments this summer for the multi-sport standout, who also plays softball for the Humboldt MIST 14U team, which will travel to compete in the Alliance Fastpitch national 14U tournament in Tennessee later this month.
That’s an impressive showing for any athlete, but even more so for a girl who only took up the sport late last year.
“She’s always been an athletic kid. She’s done jiu jitsu all her life and she’s a pretty competitive softball player,” said father Brian Wilson, who runs the Lost Boys Jiu Jitsu and Mauy Thai gym in Arcata. “She’s a smart kid and she knows how to focus and she picked up the technique well. And with her athletic ability I think that’s why she’s done well.”
Lillian began to show some promise early in her track and field career, winning both of her events at all four local middle school track and field meets as a seventh grader this past spring.
Athletic.net has her ranked second in all of California for her age in the discus and third in the shot put.
And she says she enjoys competing, even doing so in temperatures well over 100 degrees in Vegas.
“I had a lot of fun,” she said. “I got experience in the heat and throwing with other people from other areas.”
The young standout certainly keeps busy, and all of her success means lots of traveling for the whole family.
“It’s worth it,” Brian Wilson said.
The younger Wilson also has competed in swimming and began to show a natural athletic talent at a young age.
“She’s pretty amazing at (jiu jitsu),” her father said, adding that “we didn’t realize how good she was (in the shot put and discus) until she threw at a meet.”
Lillian, who turns 13 next week, also is experiencing lots of new things while competing, including making her first trip to Vegas this week.
“She loved it,” Brian Wilson said.
And the family success doesn’t end there.
Younger brother Kenneth also made the trip this week, where he competed in the 8U boys shot put and placed first with a throw of 5.62 meters.