A little more than a month after winning the IHSAA state cross country championhip, Bishop Chatard High School junior Lily Cridge managed to have an even bigger thrill.
Cridge finished second in 16 minutes and 22.81 seconds Dec. 4 in the Garmin RunningLane national meet in Huntsville, Ala. The time set a 5,000-meter record for Indiana high school girls, breaking Mishawka’s Anna Rohrer’s mark of 16:52.25 in 2015.
“Honestly, I do think this was a bigger deal than winning a state title,” said Cridge, a Geist resident. “Winning a state title is one of the best moments I have ever experienced, but this one trumps state. This was a national race that many college coaches and media (members) attended, unlike at state.
“There were girls from all over the country that made it an even bigger race than the IHSAA (cross country) championships.”
Cridge won the state title in 17:32.7 Oct. 30 in muddy conditions in Terre Haute.
“When I crossed the finish line, I really was not thinking too much about if it was the fastest Indiana girl time,” Cridge said. “The only thing I was thinking about was how blessed and grateful I was to be able to have achieved my biggest goal.”
Cridge’s previous best time was 17:04.
“The key for myself during this race was to not get super nervous,” she said. “I tend to really get anxious and feel a lot of pressure before big races. This not only takes away from the fun experience but exerts more energy than needed.”
However, Cridge took a different approach because she knew she was going up against elite runners.
“So instead of overthinking the race, I went for a different outlook,” she said. “I stayed very calm and collective and really tried to enjoy the experience more than anything.”