Bishop Chatard runner wins second consecutive state award


Bishop Chatard High School senior Lily Cridge had a perfect cap to her high school cross country career.

She was recently named Gatorade Indiana Girls Cross Country Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

The Lawrence Township resident said it is not only an honor but a blessing to win again.

“I feel as though my hard work has truly paid off, and it was a nice confidence booster going into collegiate running,” she said.

Like her junior year, Cridge, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the University of Oregon, won the sectional, regional, semistate and state individual titles. She captured the state title in the 5,000 meters Oct. 29 at the IHSAA girls cross country state championship in Terre Haute. She won in 17 minutes, 14.6 seconds. After the state meet, she finished fourth in the Nike Midwest Regional Championships Nov. 13 in Terre Haute and 28th at the Nike Cross Nationals Dec. 3 in Portland.

“This year was even better than last year,” she said. “With not having a track season, I was really looking forward to this past cross country season. I wanted to leave my mark on the sport.”

The 4-foot-10 Cridge needed to refresh her mind and body and only competed in a limited portion of the track and field season a year ago. As a sophomore, she captured the 3,200 meters at the IHSAA state finals.

“My goals for track include setting a new personal best in the 3,200 and staying happy and healthy,” said Cridge, whose personal-best time in the 3,200 is 10:03. “Before Oregon, I would love to stay consistent and not overdue things before my training becomes more intense, just staying right where I am before I leave home.”

Bishop Chatard coach Dan Kinghorn said Cridge has been fun to coach.

“I’ve coached for many years, but I’ve never coached anyone that loves to run as much as Lily does,” Kinghorn said. “When she is running and racing, there is a smile on her face and a joy that is apparent to everyone watching her. She calls running her ‘happy place,’ and the tougher the workout, the longer the run, the more punishing the pace, the happier she is. That inner desire to continually explore her limits and have fun doing it I believe is what makes her a special runner and sets her apart from the rest.

“That attitude has rubbed off on her teammates and raised the bar for the whole team, including the boys that she trains with.”

Cridge, who has a 3.81 GPA, is an active member of St. Simon the Apostle Church, where she serves as a Bible camp volunteer. She also has volunteered for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana by providing meals for the homeless.