Kaden Levings, Lily Cridge Describe Their Early XC Hopes

* Kaden Levings (left) and Lily Cridge are among the top returning runners in 2021 in cross country. MileSplit caught up with both ahead of the falls season.

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There's something about those high-altitude runners.

One among them is Kaden Levings of Cheyenne Mountain (CO). 

    The rising high school senior was a quintessential part of his team's monstrous second-place performance at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships in 2021, right behind Newbury Park, with the junior finishing 29th overall at the meet. 

    But that wasn't all to his 2021 season.

    Having taken third at the Colorado High School Association Class 4A state meet, first at the Pat Patten Invitational and first at the Liberty Bell Invitational as a junior, his season was a vast improvement.

    With one season left, we were curious: How high will he go, and what new heights will he help Cheyenne Mountain reach?

    We set out to find out those questions with a preseason Q&A with Levings, one of the nation's top returning runners. 

    1. How's your summer training gone so far?

    Summer training has been going good. I've been dealing with knee issues, but I'm getting back into it!

    Training has been solid, workouts have been solid as well. Nutrition, hydration and a good amount of sleep have helped a lot as well.

    2. Coming off of your track season, what's kept you motivated this summer?

    I'm very motivated for this year. Coming off of an amazing year last year, there are some big expectations for my team, Cheyenne Mountain.

    I just want to carry on the exceptional legacy that my teammates have left. We look super strong this year as well, and I'm ready to show our strength.

    3. What are your goals for the upcoming season?

    Goals for cross this year are to win state as a team, and if the individual title comes with that that's awesome.

    I also hope to qualify for some national meets (Eastbay, [Team Nationals], RunningLane).

    I definitely want to finish top 10 at one of those meets as well.

    4. What are you most looking forward to this cross country season?

    I'm just excited to get back after it. I'm ready to see what I'm capable of.

    Lily Cridge is no stranger to success on the grass.

    The Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (IN) High School star, entering her senior year in Indiana, returns this cross country season as the fastest returner in the country over 5,000 meters in cross country ...and as the sixth-fastest performer, ever. 

    Her exploits from 2021 campaign include a runner-up performance at the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships, an IHSAA XC State Championship, and a blistering 16:22 PR to her name.

    Perhaps that was only the start. 

    Cridge, powerful beyond her 4-foot-10 frame, enters her senior season with ambitions to surpass what she's already done and make this final high school cross country season one to remember. 

    1. How's your summer training gone so far?

    This summer I have been trying to meet up and run with new people to spice up the normal runs.

    I've met up with some my local Indy friends, but I also went to the New Generation Track and Field camp -- where I'm going to grind out tempo runs with Matt Wisner, who just finished running for Oregon.

    Summer training has looked very consistent, but it has been the most enjoyable training (thus far).

    2. Coming off of track season, what's kept you motivated this summer?

    Coming off of track season, my biggest motivation is to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

    After a track season that disappointed me, and under-fueling my body, I know I have potential for this season.

    Being able to see those around me thrive and be successful motivates me to become the best runner that I can be.

    3. What are your goals for the cross country season?

    My goals for cross country are getting a PR and placing top three at [Team Nationals].

    4. What are you most looking forward to this cross country season?

    I'm most looking forward to being able to continue to work at my goals that have always been deep in the back of my mind since I was a little girl.

    In my last high school cross country season, I want to show everyone what I am capable of. I want to make this season my healthiest. I want to make this season memorable.