After 'mental break,' Bishop Chatard's state champ Lily Cridge runs to City meet victory

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INDIANAPOLIS – For a stretch of seven months in 2021, no Indiana high school distance runner had ever been on a tear like Lily Cridge.

Thereafter, she needed time away more than another fast time.

“I just needed a mental break from all the pressure,” the Bishop Chatard junior said. “Everyone was reaching out. I mean, the pressure is still high because I have this expectation in my head.

“I think I have learned to mentally calm down and just race and have fun out there.”

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She did so Monday night in the City girls track and field meet at Tech High School. After victory, she stayed at the finish line, congratulating every girl behind her.

Cridge repeated as champion in the 3,200 meters, albeit in a time 54 seconds from her City record, and helped Chatard win a 12th successive team championship.

Chatard won seven of 16 events and scored 193 points, close to last year’s record 211. Defending state champion Cathedral was second with 122 and Heritage Christian third with 107.

Cridge ran a sequence of fast 3,200-meter times in 2021, capped by a state meet record of 10 minutes, 3.16 seconds at Ben Davis, where the crowd rewarded her with an ovation. Her time was an Indiana sophomore record, fastest in the nation by a sophomore.

She was, if anything, more dominant in cross-country.

She won a state title by 31 seconds Oct. 30 at Terre Haute. Then she smashed Indiana’s 5,000-meter cross-country record by 30 seconds with a time of 16:22.81 in finishing second in a national meet Dec. 4 at Huntsville, Ala.

At Tech, she ran a 2:31.9 leg in the 3,200 relay and then the 3,200 in 11:26.57. Those were her first races since Huntsville. It felt “amazing” to be out there, she said.

After cross-county, Cridge said, she began to “under-fuel." She stopped running altogether for three weeks and said she has gone through just one hard workout in 2022.

She hasn’t decided whether to enter next week’s sectional and attempt to defend her state title. Instead, she might train for an invitational race June 15 at Seattle.

She pulled out of the 2020 cross-country postseason because of what she characterized as ongoing fatigue.

“No matter what happens, I’m OK with it,” Cridge said. “I’ll just come back stronger than ever for cross-country, And I know the right tools for fueling, recovery and mentally.”

Freshman Kya Crooke wins 3 events

Heritage Christian freshman Kya Crooke won three events and broke a 42-year-old City record with a high jump of 5 feet, 8 inches.

Yet her more most impressive performance was in the 300-meter hurdles, in which she was second to state champion Reese Sanders of Cathedral. Sanders, a Notre Dame signee, barely missed her City record with a time of 43.75 — just off her state-leading 43.23.

Heritage Christian's Kya Crooke
Heritage Christian's Kya Crooke

Crooke, in her first 300 hurdles race ever, was second in 44.83 and now ranks second in the state. She won the 100 meters in 12.27 (third in Indiana) and long jump at 17-6 1 ¼.

Sanders continues to aim at the 300 hurdles state record of 41.36 set by Fort Wayne Concordia’s Symone Black in 2014. Five Indiana hurdlers, including Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer of Lawrence North, have been under 42.50.

“I’ve got high goals. I want to break that record before I get out of here,” Sanders said.

Only other City record was a pole vault of 11-10 by Cathedral junior Kailee Swart, who was two inches off the state lead. She was sidelined for a month by a hand injury.

Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at david.woods@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.

Indianapolis City girls track and field meet results

Team scores – Bishop Chatard 193, Cathedral 122, Heritage Christian 107, Herron 57, Cardinal Ritter 50, Crispus Attucks 25, Tech 17, Scecina 16, Covenant Christian 11, Purdue Poly 8, Christel House 6, Shortridge 3.

100 –1, Kya Crooke (HC) 12.27; 2, Brianna Buels (BC) 12.75; 3, Elise Smith (HC) 12.83.

200 – 1, Brianna Buels (BC) 26.40; 2, Adeline Miller (BC) 26.97; 3, Elise Smith (HC) 27.32.

400 – 1, Carsyn Burdine (HC) 59.83; 2, Mara Foley (BC) 1:00.87; 3, Elise Smith (HC) 1:01.21.

800 – 1, Mayan Stickel (BC) 2:23.83; 2, Alex Gantz (BC) 2:26:50; 3, Evelyn Gordon (HC) 2:33.00.

1,600 – 1, Alex Teed (BC) 5:36.94; 2, Brooke Wojcieszek (Cath) 5:40.05; 3, April Doolin (Christel) 5:42.73.

3,200 – 1, Lily Cridge (BC) 11:26.57; 2, Sarah Jacob (CR) 13:02.35; 3, Catherine Holtrup (Cath) 13:18.88.

100 hurdles – 1, Reese Sanders (Cath) 14.7, hand-timed; 2, Mary Bea Sowinski (Chatard) 15.3; 3, Pa’Shence Purnell (Herron) 15.7.

300 hurdles – 1, Reese Sanders (Cath) 43.75; 2, Kya Crooke (HC) 44.83; 3, Mary Bea Sowinski (BC) 45.97.

400 relay – 1, Bishop Chatard 49.56; 2, Cathedral 51.06; 3, Herron 51.75.

1,600 relay -- 1, Chatard 4:04.03; 2, Cathedral 4:06.62; 3, Herron 4:18.68.

3,200 relay – 1, Cathedral 10:11.37; 2, Chatard 10:42.14; 3, Heritage 11:02.13.

High jump – 1, Kya Crooke (HC) 5-8 (City record; old record 5-7 3/4, Bonnie Harrington, Washington, 1980); 2, Mayan Stickel (BC) 5-0; 3, Alaina Schultze (HC) 4-6.

Pole vault – 1, Kailee Swart (Cath) 11-10 (City record; old record 11-0, Zoe Schrader, Bishop Chatard, 2016); 2, Neva Harke (Herron) 9-6; 3, Ali Price (Herron) 9-6.

Long jump – 1, Kya Crooke (HC) 17-6 ¼; 2, Emma Stapleton (BC) 16-10; 3, Karsyn Kramer (Cath) 16-9 ½.

Shot put – 1, Lariah Wooden (Attucks) 38-5; 2, Cameron Stevenson (BC) 30-8 ½; 3, Reese Sanders (Cath) 30-4.

Discus – 1, Anna Thompson (BC) 99-3; 2, Anna McGinley (BC) 84-3; 3, Olivia Young (Sce) 81-3.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IHSAA track and field: Chatard's Lily Cridge returns to win City meet