A rising senior and cross country runner at East Paulding High School, Lily Kidane has come a long way from her humble beginnings with track as she is now being considered by schools nationwide, including the University of San Francisco and North Georgia, for scholarships.
According to East Paulding cross country coach Alan Daws, Kidane began running as a freshman on the track team but was not very good.
“I almost asked her to leave the team. She could barely do the warm-up. That would have been the biggest mistake of my career. She has progressed a lot and become a great runner,” said Daws.
Daws said he put Kidane in the 400-meter dash, then a month later she was in the 800-meter run and it took off from there.
Kidane said last season was great as she began running longer distances and broke the school record with a run of 18 minutes, 46 seconds, placing second at the Region 5-AAAA championship but she didn’t do as well as she hoped to at state.
“I wasn’t hurt and I was feeling great from the beginning. The first meet was big. I medaled and I saw that I could win. I thought I had a chance at state and was motivated,” Kidane said joyfully.
With all her motivation, Kidane said she did badly at the state championship meet, only placing 24th, but she later found out she had anemia, which is a condition that causes fatigue due to a lack of enough healthy red blood cells, and that contributed to her performance. Kidane said she has gotten back on pace and learned how to work through her anemia.
Also a member of the track team, Kidane, in th 2012 season, placed second in the 3200-meter and ran an 11:37 at the Region 5-AAAA Championship. She then placed seventh at the GHSA Girls State Championship in Albany, running a 11:32.
Kidane said she sacrificed a lot, including missing a family vacation, in preparation for the upcoming season, but she is dedicated to running.
“Over the summer I have increased my mileage to 45 miles a week and I’m training hard. I work two days a week and miss some practices, so I do core workouts at home,” said Kidane.
Daws said Kidane has been running with the boys team during practice for a year because of her skill level and he believes more schools will be looking at her soon.
“Schools are already looking. I believe the list will grow after the season. She has really turned a corner this summer and I see the list growing exponentially,” said Daws.