Shirley breaks long-standing school record

Apr. 19—Lily Shirley hasn't been running track for that long.

But the Western Boone junior is already making her mark on the Stars record book.

Shirley set the school record in the 100-meter dash on Thursday night in the Stars meet against North Putnam, Cascade and Crawfordsville, running 12.40 seconds — eclipsing the mark of Trina Hicks set it 1993 (12.5).

"It was awesome for her, and awesome for our team to have a positive like that happen last night," Western Boone track coach Nate Birk said. "She's been really working hard and has been working all year round for that."

Shirley had been within striking distance of the record all year. Running a hand-timed 12.6 earlier in the week against Greencastle.

She knew she ran well on Thursday, but it was still a shock when she found out she broke the record.

"I looked over at Coach Birk in shock, and was like 'did they really just say that time?'" Shirley said. "Then I looked at (teammate) Ki'erra (Koch) and my jaw was on the floor. I was really excited."

Shirley played softball her freshman year and just picked up track last year as a sophomore.

She had good finishes, placing second at the Sagamore Conference Meet and seventh at the sectional, and knew she wanted to take a step up this year.

"Earlier this year, I started training a lot harder," Shirley said. "I told coach Birk at the beginning of the year that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to break this record and then I want to run 12.2 by the end of the year. So this was a great first step."

Birk said that having a year of experience under her belt has helped her a lot this year.

She knows what to expect and what she has to do.

"Last year, she was just a natural, gifted athlete and used that," Birk said. "Now she is honing in on her skills, putting the time in and gaining experience. Being in some of those big meets and seeing that good competition — it really drives her."

There is still a good chunk of season left for Shirley and the Stars and she is far from satisfied with what she has accomplished so far.

She said she has big goals for what she wants to do the rest of the year.

"Hopefully I can run a 12.2 by the end of the season," Shirley said. "I want to help break the records in the 4x100 and 4x400 too."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.