PRINCETON — Ever since third grade, Haley and Heidi Meade have been committed to competitive running.
The sisterly duo ran in their first race in 2013, but officially joined the Princeton Community Middle School cross country team in 2015, where they’ve emerged as shining stars in their running careers.
Each have been committed to their craft, while becoming incredibly accomplished even prior to the conclusion of their sophomore season as Lady Tigers. Don’t let their size deceive you — these girls mean business.
Just last year Heidi Meade advanced to the IHSAA State Girls Cross Country race as a freshman, where she finished 55th among a highly competitive field littered with more experienced runners. Her sister Haley was just seconds away from accompanying her sister to the race as freshmen.
Now, back as sophomores, the Meade’s are continuing to excel, and breaking records alongside each other.
In this past weekend’s Pike Central Regional meet Heidi (19:09) and Haley (19:11) finished first and second respectively, while each setting records in the process of running a nearly 6-minute/mile time. With the victory, Heidi became just the second Princeton Community runner to ever win a Regional. And while we can’t confirm, they’ve likely joined some illustrious history as siblings finishing No. 1 and No. 2 in the same postseason race.
Between the two, appears to be an intense sisterly competitive dynamic going on, one in which they push each other to their limits. As one improves, so does the other. Haley openly admitted that Heidi’s more competitive than her, but it does appear to rub off on one another.
“She’s more competitive than I am,” Haley spoke of Heidi. “I just try to beat her.” Heidi joked.
That intense competitive spirit has allowed the Meade’s to continue to progress throughout their sophomore season and shatter their own personal times along the way.
Some of their notable performances to date include a first and second place finish at the Princeton Community High School Cross Country meet on Aug. 22, a seventh and eighth place finish at the Taylor University race, second and sixth at the Shakamak meet, and a strong showing at the Sectional meet.
At the South Knox Sectionals, the sisters were passed by South Knox’s Ava Like en route to her first place finish. But as has been the case with the Meade’s, that challenge seemingly lit a fire within them. Just a week later, they defeated Like at the Pike Central Regional, besting their fellow competitor by 20 seconds.
After defeating Like, the Meade’s — alongside their Lady Tiger teammates — advanced onto Saturday’s Semi-State meet at Brown County, a race in which Heidi Meade finished 13th at a season ago.
The ultimate goal obviously being to advance back to state, where the Meade’s — along with potentially their teammates — would compete against the best runners from across the Hoosier state.
If their past is any indication, expect the Meade’s to continue to raise the bar as the competition grows. And hopefully — earn both sisters a trip to state in 2020.
“They showed me how good people are up there. It made me try harder,” Heidi Meade spoke of the elevated competition. “I’m expecting it to be really close.” Haley Meade added.
The Meade sisters will race in the Brown County Semi-State race on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m. (CST). If they finish among the top 10 individuals advancing without a team, they’ll clinch a berth to the State Final race on Oct. 31 in Terre Haute at 10:30 a.m. (CST).