Illustration and photos by Lori Poteet
Illustration and photos by Lori Poteet
A year ago, most Sagamore Athletic Conference cross country coaches didn't know who Maddy Hurt was. By the time she won the conference meet by a massive 49 seconds, she was impossible to ignore.

And she's just a freshman.

Her consistent ability to lead all county and conference runners in times all season made Hurt the Montgomery County Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

"I thought Maddy could hit 22 (minutes) at the beginning of the season," first-year Crawfordsville head coach Megan Craig told The Paper. "I thought that was a reasonable goal. She was around 25 minutes. After the Charger Classic, I started thinking she could get close to 20 minutes.

"It was a big deal to lead the country throughout the year," Craig added.

Hurt said that she came into this season with goals of winning county and conference and making it to the New Prairie semistate. She accomplished all of those.

"It was really rewarding to win those meets," Hurt said. "It helped me be more comfortable at the bigger meets throughout the season. My biggest challenge of the year was at semistate because of how many people were there and how fast everyone was running."

Hurt's fastest time of the year came at the Harrison regional where she posted a 20:04. That was good enough to finish eighth overall.

Despite dropping nearly five minutes off of her time this year, Hurt knows that that pace won't keep up over the next four years. She said her goal is to break 18:30 during her career at Crawfordsville.

"Five minutes is a huge drop," Craig explained. "But going from 25 to 20 is a little different than dropping time after 20. She will continue to drop time, but not five minutes a year. She is a conservative and humble runner. She works very hard."

For all the hard work she put in, including practicing with the boys' team, since she was one of only two girls on the Crawfordsville roster, there was a lot of fun to be had this season as well.

"We got close as a team and it helped a lot," Hurt said. "Coach kept things loose and fun."

"I think the key to keeping comradery is beneficial intra-squad competition. We don't want the competition among ourselves to be detrimental," Craig explained.

That should be easier next season as more girls are expected to come up from Crawfordsville Middle School and join the team. Craig said that they should field a full, competitive team in the coming years.

As for the goals for Hurt, she said that she wants to at least get back to semistate and defend her county and conference crowns.

"Terre Haute," Craig said, in reference to where the state meet is held.