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Madison Fry’s ability to be one of the top cross country runners in the area has never been in doubt. But a lack in self-confidence will always trump skill.
And as a Crawfordsville senior, Fry was done letting her head get in the way of her legs. She was ready to prove she was even better than before.
Fry had already proven herself with county titles her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons, and a trio of first-team all-conference nods — not to mention three-straight trips to the IHSAA semi-state.
The only thing left was to prove to herself how good she really was.
“I knew that I wanted to end my high school career with a strong season,” she said. “In order to do that, I knew being confident was important to a successful season. I worked a lot over the summer on the mental aspect of running, believing in myself, and trusting my training.”
At the county meet, Fry raced to a fourth title in a time of 19:27. Weeks later, she helped the Athenians to an improbable third Sagamore Conference title in the last four years with a third-place finish in 19:46, and followed with a second-place finish at the Brownsburg Sectional with a personal best time of 19:09. And a 10th place finish in 19:11 at the Ben Davis Regional to advance to a fourth consecutive semi-state.
All the awards and accolades led to Fry earning a fourth-straight Journal Review Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year award.
Crawfordsville coach Megan Craig saw Fry’s confidence grow each and every week throughout the season.
“Madison does a nice job with self-reflection,” she said. “ Understanding your weaknesses and being able to adjust the ones you are able to and accepting the ones you can’t is a difficult feat. She is able to do this. She recognized that all of the components she needed to be successful she had put into place. All she had to do was believe that she deserved success. Once she started doing that, it was if a different runner was coming to the start line. She was no longer timid, she was humbly confident.”
While many female runners tend to peak early in their high school careers, Fry found a steady increase in training continued to lead to a decrease in her times.
“Over the course of my high school career, I have gradually added to my training and this season especially over the summer, I added more mileage, some different workouts, and focused on improving times during my workouts,” she said. “Knowing this was my senior year, I really wanted to focus on this being my best season.”
Fry also showed the desire to get better in every aspect of running, and Craig took notice.
“Madison is as strong academically as she is as a runner,” Craig said. “If she has questions about trends in times or issues that plague high school runners she is going to work to avoid them. She understands that a high school runner’s body will change as it physically matures. There are two approaches to this, she chose the wise one. She used the strength and knowledge she was gaining with this maturity to help her succeed. A female runner can try to prolong and slow down the effects maturing has on the body but they are at a high risk for injury. That’s not worth the risk and commend her for seeing that.”
Despite losing key runners each of the last few years, Fry developed as a leader to help maintain the team success throughout her high school tenure.
“Having a young team of amazing girls this year made me step into the leadership role even more,” she said. “I knew that I needed to teach them what I have learned over these past 4 years and be a good role model. Making sure that I was encouraging them and supporting them was important to me. They are an amazing group of girls and I wanted to see them succeed.”
Fry will leave behind a special legacy at Crawfordsville — one she remembers filled with gratitude and a lot of special memories.
“These past four years have been amazing, and I’m very thankful for God and my parents, Jeremy and Jennifer,” she said. “My parents have been at every race, supported and believed in my every step of the way. I am grateful for coach Craig and all the work she put to helping us be successful, and Andy Craig for helping coach and being encouraging, and my teammates for always supporting me and being there.”
Fry is also grateful for her entire support staff that includes her extended family, friends, and community. The senior still has track and field season to leave one last mark as an Athenian, but expects to make a college decision soon, and plans to continue her running career.
No matter where Fry ends up though, one thing is certain. As her confidence increases, her times will continue to decrease. She has proved that time and time again.
2019 Journal Review Girls XC All-Area Team
Madison Fry — Crawfordsville
Shelby Greene — Crawfordsville
Halle Smith — Crawfordsville
Elyse Widmer — Crawfordsville
Tyler Bowling — Fountain Central
Claire Bonwell — North Montgomery
Faith Allen — Southmont