By Chris Chavez
July 3, 2023
Stanford freshman Roisin Willis, the 2023 NCAA indoor champion in the 800m, has signed a name image and likeness deal with New Balance. She announced the deal on her Instagram page on Monday afternoon.
Here’s what you need to know:
– Willis is the first NCAA athlete to sign an NIL deal with New Balance.
– She will race in New Balance gear at the U.S. Outdoor Championships this weekend, where she will run the 800m. The first round of the women's 800m is set for Thursday at 6:18 p.m. ET.
– Willis just wrapped up her freshman year at Stanford, where she won the NCAA indoor 800m title in 1:59.93 in March. She finished fourth in the 800m final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last month.
– At the conclusion of the outdoor season, she opened up about dealing with insomnia and depression since the winter.
– Willis was a high school star from Stevens Point High School in Wisconsin and competed at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials as a junior. Last year, she won the New Balance Nationals Indoor 800m title and also broke the U.S. high school indoor 800 meter record in 2:00.06 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston.
– She capped her 2022 season with a gold medal at the World U20 Championships with a personal best of 1:59.13. She also earned a gold medal as a member of Team USA’s U20 4x400m team.
– Willis was a member of the women’s distance medley relay team featuring New Balance all-stars Kendall Ellis, Heather MacLean and Elle Purrier St. Pierre who broke the DMR world record in 10:33.83 at The TRACK at New Balance in April 2022. Willis split 2:03.30 as the 800m leg.
– She is the daughter of Irish Olympian Breeda Dennehy-Willis, who represented Ireland in the 5000m at the 2000 Olympics in Athens.
– Other notable NCAA track and field athletes with shoe company NIL deals include NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy with Adidas and Florida’s Parker Valby with Nike. NIL entered the collegiate landscape in 2021 and allows student-athletes to earn compensation with a brand while levering their name, image and likeness through marketing or promotional content.
Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.