May 2016

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159 race. I like to take it out around 52 (seconds for the first 400 meters) and try to keep going." Lilly's aggressive race mindset might have devel- oped by playing football, his favorite sport growing up. He also played basketball, but his first love was the gridiron. "I liked hitting people," Lilly said. But he quickly discovered that 5-foot-9, 160-pound cornerbacks aren't in high demand at the Division I level. Aer he qualified for the state track meet as a sophomore, Lilly also quickly real- ized the magic of competing on Drake's blue oval. Still, his love affair with track was a work in prog- ress. "When I made it to state I was actually like, 'Ugh, I have to run for a couple more weeks,'" Lilly said. "But it was cool experience. I thought if I could make it there as a sophomore, if I focused on track, I could probably do some good things." As a junior in high school he would return home aer basketball practice and log miles on a tread- mill. His dedication to running increased as a prep senior. In 2014, Lilly won the high school boys' 800 run at the Drake Relays in 1:54.62 -- nearly five seconds faster than his seventh-place finish at Drake the previous year. College training was bound to lead him to even greater heights. At Sioux City East, Lilly practiced track maybe three months out of the year. Now he is at it year-round. "I am confident in myself," Lilly said. "I know I have trained as hard as I can and done everything I can. As long as I go out there and run my race and do all I can do, I know I will put myself in good position to, if not win the race, run a good time." Like most runners, Lilly has overcome an occa- sionally nick here and there. Generally he likes where he is aerobically. He has a solid base and feels stronger and faster than ever before. ose features came in handy April 23 when he raced Sowinski in a 600-meter run at the Musco Twighlight on the Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track in Iowa City. Sowinski, the indoor 600 American record holder at that distance, won the race with a personal best 1:15.31. Lilly was second, just 0.33-seconds behind.

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