True success stories both in the classroom and on the track, Cahokia High School athletes Tyran Lyons and Anthony McRoberts will be competing in track and field at the NCAA Division I level beginning in the 2016-17 season.
Currently injured, but one of the top combination athletes in the St. Louis area in the long jump, triple jump and high jump, McRoberts has signed a national letter of intent to attend Illinois State University in Normal. Lyons, a top athlete in the relays and also successful in the 400 and 800 meters, will be attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Both announcements came last week during a ceremony at Cahokia High School. Lyons has been a key member of the last three Comanches squads which will attempt to win its record sixth straight Class 2A state championship next month in Charleston.
“I’m very proud of both these young men. They have both been fine examples of student-athletes during their high school careers and have done an excellent job of representing their school, community and their families,’’ Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap said. “They are both very good athletes, but they’re both even better individuals.’’
The first of his generation
Lyons, who also considered Oregon and Alcorn State, has 11 state medals in his first three years at Cahokia — including three state championship team medals. But with several of his family members in attendance in a classroom at Cahokia High School, the Comanches two-sport standout made history of another kind.
Lyons will become the first member of his family to attend college.
“To be the first member of my family in this generation to be able to go to college makes me very proud. I have a younger brother and a younger sister who I’m very close too and who I wanted to set a good example for. My little sister says she wants to be just like me and go to college and that makes me feel great,’’ Lyons said.
“Pine Bluff is a great school and when I went down there and met with the coaches, they made me feel welcomed and that I would be a big part of their program. I liked that.’’
Lyons, who plans on majoring in business, said he will probably compete in the 400 and 800 meters and in the relays. He also hopes to walk-on as a member of the school’s football team. Lyons was a running back-wide receiver on the Comanches football team.
“That’s what he says he wants to do and knowing Tyran I wouldn’t put it past him. The young man has just a huge heart. I think a lot of it comes from him being short and people telling him that he can’t do things.
“He’s a very determined young man who has done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s got a great attitude and he’s very outgoing. I’m sure he’ll do well at the college level.’’
A true success story
Considered one of Illinois State’s top recruits, McRoberts hasn’t competed in an outdoor meet this season and probably won’t until the St. Clair County Championships next week.
But even an injured hip didn’t stop McRoberts from signing with the Redbirds. Sixth in the Class 2A triple jump a year ago, McRoberts will be competing in the high jump, triple jump and long jump at the college level.
“I hurt my hip during the indoor season and I’m not exactly sure how I did it. Hopefully, I’ll be jumping at the county meet in about 10 days. That”s my hope,’’ McRoberts said. “My goals are to go 7 feet 1 inch in the high jump, 47 feet in the triple jump and 23 feet in the long jump. I just want to get healthy so I can help the team.’’
McRoberts, who like Lyons, is an honors student at Cahokia, plans to major in criminal justice at ISU.
“I just really like everything about it. It’s not that far from home either,’’ McRoberts said. “The other athletes on the team seemed like good guys and ISU has a pretty good tradition in track and field. I’m looking forward to the future.’’
Although McRoberts plans to do all three jumps at the college level, there is no doubt in Millsap’s mind what McRoberts is best in.
“The high jump. When Anthony came in as a freshman the best he could jump was 4 feet 3 inches. Now he’s jumping 6-10 and is one of the best in the nation,’’ Millsap said, chuckling.