The Dundee 8th grader claimed the title at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championship on Staten Island.

An 8th grader and a national champion. That’s what Lily Hall is. Hall competed at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championship in Staten Island over the weekend and placed first in the triple jump where she became the 2019 USATF Hershey National Indoor 13-14 Girls Triple Jump Champion, jumping 10.58 meters.

Hall, an 8th grader at Dundee Central School, competed this year along with fellow Dundee student Matt Wood with the Watkins Glen Indoor Track Team. One of her coaches, Rodney Weeden, had nothing but praise for what the Dundee athletes brought to the team this winter.

“We both (Weeden and fellow coach Kelly Sterner) loved having Matt Wood and Lily Hall work out with the Indoor track team at Watkins Glen” he said. “Both had tremendous work ethics.”

Weeden went on to explain Lily’s contribution specifically.

“To have an 8th grader coming in with long jumps over 15 feet to start the season was an inspiration to our jumpers as well,” he explained. “To watch her increase her distance and finally break that 16 foot mark was awesome. She was committed to her jumping drills and she helped our jumpers improve more than they would have without her on the team. I loved watching an 8th grader lead a group of upper classmen in essential jumping mechanics drills. I’m very hopeful she will be one of the top three Long and Triple Jumpers in Section 5 next year.”

Her day in school on Monday was one she will remember for a long while as Hall heard adulation for her accomplishments in class and in the hallways.

“It’s really surreal,” Hall said of being congratulated throughout the school day by administrators, teachers, parents and students. “Everyone definitely looks at it a little differently now and I still haven’t seen a lot of people on the track team. We have practice in the afternoon, I don’t know, I feel like everyone’s just kind of happy about it.”

You might think that with Hall competing and excelling at this stage of her career she would rest on her laurels. But anyone who knows her can attest that she is a person who is ultra-focused on pursuing her dreams and being the best she can be.

“I want to go to a Division 1 school in college on a scholarship for track and academics,” said Hall, who excels in the classroom as well. “I think if you look at everyone in the nation, there’s a lot of really good athletes in my grade too. I think from how hard I try, how much I believe I can do this and just everything all together and the fact that I want it and trust that I can do it, it’s very likely.”

For now, people can enjoy watching her star for the Dundee track team this spring, where she will continue to work hard and reach her goals. Hall definitely appreciates the opportunities she has received in her young life.

“Just to think of how far I’ve come and how much better I’ve gotten. You just really have to trust the process and have faith.”