Will DiSessa leapt a lifetime-best 13.9 meters/45 feet, 8.75 inches in the triple jump at the IHSA Class 3A track and field state finals on May 27 to finish an all-state fourth, the highest finish in the event in program history. | RICH SKORA

Lyons Township High School senior Will DiSessa reached the 2022 IHSA Class 3A state meet in triple jump, but he finished 22nd, beating only the two competitors who scratched all three attempts.

DiSessa found an answer to improvement.

“I was in the weight room basically every day of the week, took Sundays off. And I did lifting with the swim team,” said DiSessa, also an LTHS diver.

In his return to state last weekend, DiSessa triple jumped a lifetime-best 13.94 meters/45 feet, 8.75 inches in Saturday’s finals to finish an all-state fourth – the highest finish in the event in program history.

“I was seeded 17th [from sectionals] so coming out fourth is really amazing,” DiSessa said. “I was dead last [in 2022] to fourth. It’s a great jump, to be honest. It’s definitely something I wanted to see.” 

The 3,200-meter relay team of senior Michael Farrell, junior Nick Strayer and seniors John Meyers and Matt McGovern also gained top-nine, all-state honors by finishing fifth (7:51.25).

While the Lions’ 3,200 relay tradition continues, DiSessa surpassed seventh-place all-state finishes by Thomas Saggau (2017), the school record holder at 47-4.75, and Rick Smith (1974).

DiSessa’s lifetime best came on his first attempt in Friday’s preliminaries, which carry over to Saturday’s finals. His best jumps often come on first attempts.

“I have the energy and my ankles can only handle so much,” DiSessa said.

DiSessa may have gone further if not for qualifying in the maximum four events. He was 12th in the 100 (11.12), 19th in the 200 (22.38) and part of the 400 relay with juniors Dan Montesano and Adrian Linares and senior Jack Rempfer (17th, 42.87).

“I was hurting [Friday], both of my hamstrings, my knee,” DiSessa said. “The running didn’t go my way but I went out there. It was fun, seeing all of the people, the atmosphere.” 

The 3,200 relay was all-state for the third time in the past four state meets. The relay’s season-best 7:49.64 on May 26 was the second-fastest qualifying time.

“It means so much. I never conceived I’d do anything like this and to be here, the best feeling in the world,” Ferrell said. “Nothing compares to it, except handing the baton off to Nick. That felt awesome.”

Ferrell, McGovern and Strayer were among several Lions who qualified for state last year but didn’t reach the event finals.

“I remember walking up to the stadium and that was my dream,” McGovern said. “I worked hard, all of these boys did. Very hard to get here. Our goal of getting all-state, we got it and I’m happy with what happened.”

Meyers dropped six seconds from junior year to a 1:58 split to make this year’s lineup.

“I wasn’t ever expecting to be in the lineup but I’m so happy that I’m here,” Meyers said. “I didn’t have it at the end [in the finals] but overall I’m happy that I had a great relay, great friends to do it with.” 

Strayer was all-state in cross country last November, but this achievement had special meaning.

“The team aspect of this is amazing,” Strayer said. “I’m just really proud I was able to help them out.” 

Senior Nick Barcelona was 10th in the 300 intermediate hurdles (39.67), .04 from the nine-person finals.

The 1,600 relay (Rempfer, Ferrell, Strayer, McGovern in 3:23.65) was 12th. Other finishers were Rempfer (15th in 400, 50.40), Montesano (18th in 100, 11.23), Ferrell (20th in 800, 1:58.06), McGovern (24th in 800, 53.00), Strayer (24th in 1,600, 4:28.73) and junior Cillian Henning (35th in 3,200, 9:44.34).