Franklin freshman makes most of her debut season

A change of scenery did nothing to change Lillian Lacy’s expectations entering the cross-country season.

The Franklin freshman, a student in the Greenwood school system from kindergarten through eighth grade, made her Grizzly Cubs debut an impressive one by being named the Daily Journal’s Female Runner of the Year.

Lacy, the individual champion at the Johnson County and Mid-State Conference meets, later finished second at the sectional and fifth in the regional. She placed 56th at the Shelbyville Semistate in a time of 19 minutes, 28.4 seconds.

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Her personal best of 19:27 came at the Brown County Invitational.

Looking back, Lacy remembers being nervous in the days leading up to being part of a different school system for the first time in her life.

“I remember my first day on the cross-country team. I didn’t know what to expect because I had new teammates and new coaches,” she said. “But I ended up really enjoying the season.

“By the third meet I started saying, ‘Hey, this is a really good fit for me.’”

A burning desire to succeed is evident in everything Lacy does, whether it’s academics (she carries a 4.5 grade-point average) or her role in the Grizzly Cubs swim program as a participant in the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle.

Lacy said she inherited this trait from her father, Jeff, a former athlete at Martinsville High School.

During the offseason, Franklin coach Ray Lane knew he had good runners such as senior Emma Treibic and juniors Chloe Selking and Abby Burton returning.

The addition of Lacy made the Cubs that much better.

“It was a pleasant surprise when she came to Franklin,” Lane said. “Lillian is very talented, but more than anything she’s a really hard worker. That’s just how she is. She has a drive not many people have.”

And a future that looks awfully bright.

All-County team

The 2017 All-Johnson County team for girls cross-country:

Julia Arruda, Greenwood sophomore: Was impressive for the Woodmen in the postseason with a 10th-place effort at sectional and came in 14th at regional. … Advanced to Shelbyville Semistate as an individual.

Nina Fujii, Center Grove junior: Repeat All-County honoree took second at both the Johnson County meet and Franklin Sectional. … Placed 11th at the Shelbyville Regional.

Gabrielle Harrell, Center Grove sophomore: Came in 11th at the Franklin Sectional and 17th a week later at the Shelbyville Regional. … Was seventh at the county meet earlier in the season.

Lillian Lacy, Franklin freshman: Won both Johnson County and Mid-State Conference meets. … Notched runner-up finish at sectional and was fifth at Shelbyville Regional.

Taylor Leytham, Whiteland sophomore: Was the No. 5 finisher at the county meet, crossed the finish line seventh at sectional and was 18th at regional.

Tori Martin, Center Grove senior: Repeat All-County choice and Academic All-State pick was third at county, fourth at sectional, 13th in the regional and qualified for Shelbyville Semistate.

Claire Overfelt, Whiteland freshman: Made it all the way to semistate in her first varsity season. … Eighth at Johnson County meet, third at sectional and 15th at regional.

Honorable mention

Shaelyn Biddle, Indian Creek; Abby Burton, Franklin; Julia Falcone, Center Grove; Nicole Kissler, Center Grove; Piper Reed, Franklin; Emma Treibic, Franklin; Chloe Selking, Franklin; Erika Walling, Whiteland; Mallory Watson, Greenwood

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.