Former Big Spring star and 9x all Big-12 Nebraska runner Lara Crofford to run at Shippensburg



Lara Crofford had a great career at BIg Spring HS in Newville, PA, twice capturing AAA State runner-up honors in cross country, and earning two HS all-American honors, taking 2nd in the 5000 (16:43.46) and 6th in the 2-mile (10:28.67) at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in 2007. She went on to the University of Nebraska, where she was a four-time qualifier for the NCAA Division I Championships, and a nine-time all-Big 12 performer. Crofford has enrolled in the graduate program at Shippensburg, and will use her final two seasons of eligibility running for the Raider during the 2012 indoor and outdoor season. Crofford will open her Shippensburg running career on January 21st at the Bucknell Heptagonal meet. PennTrackXC welcomes Lara back to PA!


PTXC: What is your degree from Nebraska, and what will your Masters be in? When did you graduate? Enroll at Ship?

LC: My degree from Nebraska is a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Science. I will be getting a Master’s from Ship in Organizational Development & Leadership. I graduated from Nebraska on December 17, 2011. I enrolled at Ship in October.

PTXC: Give a brief overview of your Nebraska career. Did it go as expected? Highlights? Or still have some things to accomplish?

LC: My Nebraska career didn’t go exactly as I thought it would in terms of progression, but it was such a great experience that I wouldn’t change anything. My first year was my hardest year. I was running well, but adjusting to a whole new place and new people was hard. By the time spring rolled around though, I got very comfortable and ended up with a great track season. My sophomore year was a great year. The Nebraska XC team made the NCAA championships in XC for the first time in a long time and I took 45th, just missing All-American by less than 2 seconds. Track season was great as well. I was PR’ing in almost everything. Then I had a down XC season my junior year. I found out I was very iron deficient, so after trying to come back slowly through the winter, my coach and I decided to redshirt indoor. Then we ended up redshirting outdoor because I wasn’t quite ready to come back. Then I had my best XC season as a whole my senior year. But then I started coming down with little injuries throughout indoor and outdoor. After the Big 12 outdoor track meet, I had a lot of pain in my hip and actually got an MRI because the trainers thought it might be a stress fracture. It turned out to be a deep hip flexor strain and hamstring tendonitis. So then I decided to forgo the regional meet, thus a chance at the national meet.

The highlights of being at Nebraska were when the team made the NCAA XC Championships in 2008, our track team winning the Big 12 indoor title in 2011. Individually, making every NCAA XC Championship meet in my 4 years of XC was a big highlight, getting 45th at the NCAA XC Championships in 2008, getting 13th in the 10k at the NCAA track Championships in 2009, and being a 9x all-Big 12 including being runner-up to Lisa Koll my freshman year in the 10k at the Big 12 Championships.


PTXC: Are you glad to be back in the area? What did you miss the most? What didn't you miss?

LC: I am glad to be back in the area. It’s weird being back after 4.5 years, but it’s nice. I think I mostly missed the landscape! Nebraska doesn’t have a whole lot around. I didn’t miss the hills though, and being far from any sort of store. In Lincoln, every store you can imagine is within a 5 mile radius.


PTXC: Why Ship at this point?

LC: I enjoyed my time at Nebraska, but I was ready for a change. I knew I wanted to get a Masters with the lack of job availability today. I also wanted to use my last two seasons of eligibility. So I applied to two schools for graduate school. One was Ship and the other was Adams State in Colorado. I realized that it would be better to go to a more familiar area because graduate school can be stressful enough. I know some people at Ship, while Adams State would be a whole new environment again. Also, I knew Coach Spence from HS when he worked with us post-season. Actually it was because of him and Neely that I actually performed at a high level while in HS. I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t have had a chance at getting a scholarship to run in college if it weren’t for them.


PTXC: You missed Neely as a teammate by one season, but the Ship team has become incredibly strong. What are you most looking forward to?

LC: I’m most looking forward to working with Coach Spence again and being on a team with such great history and success. Also, starting a whole new collegiate running experience is exciting.




Mile: 4:54.03

3k: 9:33.57

5k: 16:27.73

10k: 33:56.46

6k XC: 20:17