Girls cross country team races to state finals

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Patrick Felts, Sports editor

After an impressive semi-state race in Shelbyville, the Bishop Chatard girls cross country team advanced to the state finals in Terre Haute for the first time in 12 years. 

The Shelbyville semi-state competition was one of the toughest in the state, with six of the top ten teams in the state according to INCCStats.com competing.The Trojans were ranked ninth in the state and sixth in their semi-state bracket heading in, but finished fourth in the competition, advancing to state along with five other schools.

The state tournament for cross country works differently than most other IHSAA sports. 24 of the 392 teams from across the state qualify for the state finals, and every school is in the same bracket since the sport is not separated by class. In addition, the top 40 runners from teams who did not qualify for state also compete. Cross country coach and English teacher Ms. Maura Day commented on the challenge, as she said, “We’re in a non-class sport, so we have to go up against the best of the best in the entire state.”

The team has been headlined by record breaking performances by freshman Lily Cridge all season long. In her first season, Cridge has broken the school record for fastest time multiple times. She credits her teammates and preparation for her success. Cridge said, “We’ve gotten a lot stronger mentally and physically this season. It’s been important for us to both rest and practice leading up to state.”

Although cross country runners race individually, teamwork has been key to the team’s success. Sophomore runner Mayan Stickel said, “Even though we are all running separately, all of our effort and commitment comes down to us doing it for one another.”

Qualifying for state has been the biggest accomplishment for BCXC in over a decade. Many Trojans in the past have worked to reach the state championship, but the 2019 team was the first to do it in years. Senior Miranda Stickel said, “I spent four years working towards a goal, and I finally have the opportunity to do it. This is a tight-knit team, and the work of all my teammates over the past four years has led up to this. I’m excited to be a leader.”

The road doesn’t stop at just qualifying for state. The girls will take the course one last time tomorrow at 1:45 P.M., at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, about an hour and a half drive from BCHS. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased here[https://gofan.co/app/events/68640].