published January – February 2017


Juniors: Big Dreams Ahead for Lillyan

by Aleena Cook, Junior League Director

In a small area in Wisconsin between Stratford and Marshfield, lives an amazing nine-year-old girl. Lillyan Kildahl is a fourth grader at Madison Elementary who loves to talk about her family, friends, and her love of horseshoes.    


Starting when she was only five years old, Lillyan found a love for a special game that she seemed to have a knack for. She was told pitching horseshoes was fun by her mom and grandma and she came to find out, they were right. At first she would wait until all pitching in league was done so she could come out and pitch, as she got older she was able to participate in league and competed in her first tournament in 2014. She continued to pitch in area tournaments and the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Wisconsin state tournaments. In 2015, she took 5th in her class at the Kansas World Tournament and in 2016 she took 1st in class C at the Alabama World Tournament. In both cases she doubled her entry average and is now at a 7.73%. Her goal is to one day make the championship classes at both the state and world levels. When asked what she likes most about horseshoes she says, “My friendships I make with my family and friends from all over the country.”


During the summer she competes in a league one day a week and then practices on the weekend. Her favorite practice partners are her mom, Tava, and brothers, Conner and Braedyn. In league she competes against them along with her grandma, grandpa, and two aunts. Before they passed away, Lillyan’s great-grandparents would help her as well. Now she says, “They cheer for me from heaven.” Her family is always behind her and supporting her.


Along with horseshoes, Lillyan plays softball and bowls. Her favorite positions in softball are short-stop, catcher, and third base. In bowling, her current average is an 89. Her top subjects in school are Art and Math. When she grows up she wants to be a Doctor in the same field that her grandpa works in. She even dresses her stuffed animals in scrubs the same color that he wears. Her hero though is her mother, “She teaches me how to do new things and she always loves me and supports me.” 


One thing is for sure; this little girl has a bright future in all aspects including horseshoes. Lillyan wants to keep pitching for as long as she can to be the best she can be. Keep an eye out for her toothy smile and her family right behind her.