LEXINGTON — State championships, school records and scholarship money. Maddie Kriz still has plenty to run for in the last four weeks of the track and field season.
The Boyle County senior has committed to run track and cross country for Division II Southern Indiana in Evansville, and will be signing with the school soon.
She is also aiming to break school records in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and is part of the best 3,200 relay team in Class AA.
So there is no way Kriz plans on coasting at this point.
“No. Actually (Southern Indiana) told me if I got the times they want me to get I would get more money. So that’s motivating me too,”¿Kriz said. “Plus, it’s my senior year. From the beginning of the season, I actually cut my time by about 20 seconds (in the mile). I’m shooting for breaking both of the school records this year.
“So hopefully in the next few weeks, I’ll start peaking and reach those times. Because I’m not going to be satisfied until I break the school records.”
Kriz said Southern Indiana, coached by Mike Hillyard, is the perfect fit for her.
“It’s medium-sized, and that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want to be a number somewhere, and I really wanted to run in college,”¿said Kriz, who will major in broadcasting and journalism and is getting a mix of athletic and academic scholarship money. “And I got a 25 on my ACT, so that got me in-state tuition.”
So with college taken care of, Kriz can turn her attention to finishing up her college career on a strong note.
She is three-quarters of the returning Class AA 3,200 relay state champs — along with Logan Arnold and Nikki Coffey — and has Elena Raffay on the squad this season.
“Elena has really come a long way from the beginning of the year. She’s a lot further along than I was at this time,”¿she said. “And we’re hoping we can get a second state championship.”
Kriz said she is hovering around the top 10 in the 1,600 and 3,200 in Class AA, but that’s not really good enough for her.
“I’m not really liking that. I kind of want to get a little higher,”¿said Kriz, who admits she regular checks the standings to see where she stands. “It just motivates me more than anything. It’s just like, ‘OK, I want to beat her,’ and I just pick someone. The more points I can get for my team, the better chance we have of coming in high at state.”
And she can be her own worst critic, as well.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I don’t think there’s anybody harder on myself than me. My coach (Brent Wagner) is understanding and motivating, and he’s like, ‘Just chill and relax, you’ll get it,’” she said. “Last week (at the Tates Creek Invitational) I wanted to break the mile record and completely freaked myself out and blew it.”
Kriz gets another chance to set some school records Friday at the Boyle County Invitational.
“I’m really looking forward to Friday because it will probably be the last time we run at our home track,” she said. “So I’d really like to go out there and get some gold medals.”
The opportunity for medals is shortened this season, since the state meet is May 17-19 in Louisville, two weeks earlier than in years past. Kriz said she just trains harder to make up the difference.
“I put in a lot more miles after practice. Coach is more of a spring coach, so me and Emma (Ditto) work on our extra miles,” Kriz said. “But he keeps me calm and keeps my form in line, and he tells me when to go. And sometimes I have a hard time trusting him, but he’s always right. He’s a great coach.”
Kriz said she is pretty good at staying self-motivated, and likes she still has goals to shoot for.
“Because I don’t want to get lackadaisical. I’m like, ‘Oh it’s senior year I’ve already signed somewhere,’ I don’t want that to happen. I want to keep going and pushing through until the end.
“Because I have a chance to win the region in all my events, and I’d like to do that too.”