Performance: Farwell's Lillian Albaugh

May 3, 2017

Lillian Albaugh
Farwell junior – Track & Field

Sports run deep in Albaugh’s family, and she added another achievement to the legacy April 26 with a school record-breaking performance. Albaugh broke Farwell’s shot put record that had stood since 1993 with a throw of 38 feet, 10½ inches and also won the discus in a meet against Harrison to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Albaugh’s record toss bested Shane Haas’ 24-year-old throw by 6½ inches and would’ve placed Albaugh third at last season’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals, where she finished seventh in shot put. Albaugh tossed the discus 113-3 against Harrison, a career best and 2 feet, three inches short of another 1993 record set by Haas, now Shane Barnett.

While shot put is her favorite spring athletic endeavor, Albaugh admits her family is half track & field and half softball, and she’s also hitting .400 on the diamond this spring after helping Farwell to a Division 3 District title last season. Albaugh’s mom Jill is a former Shepherd throws record-holder and an assistant track & field coach for Farwell, while her aunt Marge Albaugh was the LP Class C shot put champion for Bullock Creek in 1982. Lillian's sister Libby Albaugh was a softball standout at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and made the MHSAA record book with 22 doubles in 2012, and her dad Bill directs the summer softball Mt. Pleasant Drillers program. Lillian admits, “My whole life has been sports, sports sports.” But that’s not all; she's a strong student, plays in the marching and concert bands, and participates in 4-H and was Isabella County Fair princess for 2015. She's interested in studying for a career in education and potentially coaching or becoming an athletic director.  

Coach Matt Horodyski said: “Lillian is well-liked by all competitors and coaches. She is a hard worker with a great attitude. She takes care of business in the classroom as well as on the field. She encourages her teammates and classmates alike to do their best. We are all very proud of what Lillian has accomplished, and look forward to see how much further she can take it.”

Performance Point: “I said I’m going to do this, I’m going to give it my all, it feels like I’m going to break some records today," Albaugh said of her record-breaking meet. "When I heard I was in the hole (third in line to throw) ... I turned around and got away from everyone. I prayed really quick, said God, this is my moment in time, I’ve worked so hard, and this is my moment now to shine. All of a sudden I was up, I got in the circle, looked where I was throwing and said OK, I’m going to challenge myself. This is the day. I brought it down into position, I was going into my glide and I don’t know why but I closed my eyes. I felt myself go so quick … I grunted really loud … and I saw the shot put fly so fast. I’ve never seen my throw go so far or fast. … I got out the back (of the circle), and I’m waiting and waiting, and I started crying. All of a sudden I hear ‘38 feet, 10 and a half inches,’ and I started bawling. For two and half years I’ve wanted that record, and I knew sometime someday I’d throw 38 feet.”

Thanks Mom: “I’ve been throwing since I was in seventh grade, and I’ve never had a throwing coach besides one, (middle school coach) Chris Kelly. My mom just helps me some more with it, fills in the blanks with what I need to do more. She helps me a lot.”

Happy to hand off: “(Barnett) is my good friend’s mother. She had the middle school record too and I beat her record. Her daughter (Soyer Barnett) plays softball with me, and I always talk with her mom. She was just so excited for me (Wednesday). When she first saw me she gave me a hug and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’”

Be like Michelle: “One day my mom said to look up YouTube videos (of throwers), and I did. I typed in ‘girls shot put Olympics’ because I always wanted to know about Olympic shot putters, and Michelle Carter (2016 gold medalist and U.S. record holder) popped up. When I was watching her throws, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I want to be her so much. I want to be like her and throw that far.’ I watched her at the Rio Olympics (last) year … everything was so right. How people were talking on there, ‘Look at her epic throw.’ I’m like, ‘Yes.’”

Busy is best, but shot put is #1: “I like to keep myself busy, just having fun with my friends and enjoying life and trying new things that I always wanted to try. … Shot put … I just like throwing a heavy ball and seeing how far it goes, seeing if I can accomplish more goals in life.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2016-17 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2016-17 honorees:
April 27: Amber Gall, Shepherd track & field  Read
April 20: Sloane Teske, East Grand Rapids tennis Read
March 30: Romeo Weems, New Haven basketball Read
March 23: Jaycie Burger and Maddie Clark, Pittsford basketball Read
March 16: Camden Murphy, Novi swimming & diving Read
March 9: Ben Freeman, Walled Lake Central wrestling Read
March 2: Joey Mangner, Chelsea swimming & diving Read
Feb. 23: Isabelle Nguyen, Grosse Pointe North gymnastics – Read
Feb. 16: Dakota Hurbis, Saline swimming & diving – Read
Feb. 2: Foster Loyer, Clarkston basketball Read
Jan. 26: Nick Jenkins, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling – Read
Jan. 19: Eileene Naniseni, Mancelona basketball Read
Jan. 12: Rory Anderson, Calumet hockey – Read
Dec. 15: Demetri Martin, Big Rapids basketball Read
Dec. 1: Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech football Read
Nov. 24: Ally Cummings, Novi volleyball Read
Nov. 17: Chloe Idoni, Fenton volleyball Read
Nov. 10: Adelyn Ackley, Hart cross country Read
Nov. 3: Casey Kirkbride, Mattawan soccer – Read
Oct. 27: Colton Yesney, Negaunee cross country Read
Oct. 20: Varun Shanker, Midland Dow tennis Read
Oct. 13: Anne Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country – Read
Oct. 6: Shuaib Aljabaly, Coldwater cross country – Read
Sept. 29: Taylor Seaman, Brighton swimming & diving – Read
Sept. 22: Maggie Farrell, Battle Creek Lakeview cross country – Read
Sept. 15: Franki Strefling, Buchanan volleyball – Read
Sept. 8: Noah Jacobs, Corunna cross country – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Farwell's Lillian Albaugh watches her shot put land during last week's meet against Harrison. (Middle) Albaugh also takes plenty of swings for the softball team. (Top photo courtesy of the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, middle photo courtesy of Farwell High School.)