Event: Triple Jump
PR: 16.97m/55-8.25 (2007)
Born: July 12, 1981
Current Residence: Lafayette, La.
High School: Iota (La.) HS ‘00
College: Louisiana Lafayette ‘05
Career Highlights: 2007 USA Outdoor runner-up; 6th at 2004 Olympic Trials; 3rd at 2004 NCAA Outdoors; 4th at 2003 NCAA Outdoors
Willis’ stunning runner-up performance at the 2007 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships came as a huge surprise because he had taken an extended break from competition since finishing his degree requirements at the University of Louisiana Lafayette in 2005. He began training last October despite work requirements with Acadian Ambulance and with the Lafayette Sheriff's Office that took up a great deal of his time. In competitions earlier this year, Willis jumped 52-7 in UL's Louisiana Classics and had a 54-1 effort at the LSU Alumni Gold meet in Baton Rouge in April that qualified him for the national meet. He had gone 55-7 in the 2004 Olympic Trials after a collegiate best of 53-11 while a Cajun. "Going into the meet, I knew I was jumping as well as I did in 2004," Willis told the Athletic Network. "I had kept my faith and kept working out, using what I learned in college. I was excited and determined to put out a good mark on my first jump. Walter (Davis, reigning world indoor and outdoor champion) wasn't jumping, so someone had to put a mark out there." Willis' success made him the first UL product to reach the World Championships level since two-time U.S. Olympian Hollis Conway won the last of his six national high jump titles in 1994. "All the work's starting to pay off," said Willis, who mostly trains alone at UL’s Cajun Track. "But hopefully this is just a step, just the beginning. I've made it here and it's time to go on from here."
7th at Olympic Trials (16.62m/54-06.50)...2nd at Nike Prefontaine Classic (17.11m/56-1.75w)
2007: USA Outdoor runner-up (16.97m/55-8.25PR)…8th in qual. at World Outdoors (16.55m/54-3.75)...2nd at Baton Rouge (16.48m/54-1w)…2nd at Baton Rouge Indoor (15.43m/50-7.5i).
2006: Did not compete.
2005: 1st at Monroe (15.84m/51-11.75)…4th at Baton Rouge Indoor (15.96m/52-4.5i)…best of 15.84m/51-11.75, 15.96m/52-4.5i.
2004: 6th at Olympic Trials (16.94m/55-7)…3rd at NCAA Outdoors…3rd at Austin (16.67m/54-8.25w)…4th at Fayetteville Indoor (16.56m/54-4)…best of 16.94m/55-7.
2003: 4th at NCAA Outdoors…1st at Sun Belt Conference (15.67m/51-5)…1st at Baton Rouge (16.44m/53-11.25)…2nd at Columbus (16.42m/53-10.5)…best of 16.44m/53-11.25.
2002: 2nd at LSU (16.09m/52-9.5w)…best of 16.09m/52-9.5w.