Bishop Chatard High School senior Lily Cridge wears her motto on her leg.
“Since freshman year, ‘DRIVE’ has always been my one word,” Cridge said. “I can correlate that word to any of my big goals and dreams. I am always driving towards my dreams, and it reminds me that no matter, what God will drive me in the right direction.”
That drive took Cridge to a second consecutive victory in the 5,000 meters Oct. 29 in the IHSAA girls cross country state championship race at Terre Haute. Cridge won in 17 minutes, 14.6 seconds.
Cridge, a Lawrence Township resident, finished 3 seconds ahead of Delta junior Nicki Southerland, who made up seven seconds in the final kilometer.
“I definitely felt like I went out too fast for my liking,” Cridge said. “My first 1K was the fastest split I have ever run for a 1K. I knew I wanted to get out hard but not that hard. I definitely paid the prices later in the race of getting out that hard, but I just drove it home one last time for the title.”
Rather than calling the repeat victory sweet, Cridge describes it as a “blessing.”
“I am so blessed with everyone around me and in my corner to help me make this happen that I am just overwhelmed with all the love and support I get,” she said.
After Cridge was named the 2021-22 Indiana Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year, she said she needed a break.
“Last spring, I really needed to focus on myself and bettering my health,” she said. “After getting second at the Garmin Running Lane Nationals (in Huntsville, Ala. Dec. 4, 2021), my health declined and I was under-fueling my body once again. I needed to get a good handle on things, and so I took the time to recover and reset my mind and body, which led me to coming back stronger than ever for this state title.”
Cridge, who won the 3,200 meters at the IHSAA state track and field meet as a sophomore, ran the 800 in a limited track schedule. She did compete on Chatard’s 3,200-relay team at the state meet.
Cridge committed to the University of Oregon in September.
“The key factor of choosing the University of Oregon was the team dynamics,” she said. “I saw that the team worked together. They had fun when they were running or when they weren’t. I saw how determined they were to better themselves. I also loved (assistant coach) Shalane Flanagan and (head coach) Jerry Schumacher and their big goals for the program at Oregon.”