NCAA Qualifier (2007, 2008, 2009)
All-Midwest Region (2007, 2008, 2009)
All-Big 12 (2007, 2008)
NU Women’s Most Valuable Runner (2007, 2008, 2009)
USTFCCCA All-Academic Team (2008, 2009)
First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2008, 2009)
Lara (pronounced LAR-uh) Crofford ended her 2009 cross country season by finishing 113th at the NCAA Championships where she ran individually. Crofford was the top runner for the women for the third year in a row and looks to lead the women again in 2010.
Along with being the women’s most valuable runner three consecutive seasons, she was also a first-team academic All-Big 12 selection in 2008 and 2009. She redshirted the 2010 track season due to illness but had a great summer of conditioning and is ready to come back and improve on the course in 2010. “Lara is back to full training after being sick,” Head Coach Jay Dirksen said. “She is ready to lead this young team in the 2010 season.”
Crofford was the Huskers’ top runner in all six of her meets during the 2009 season and earned a third straight appearance at the NCAA Championships. For her success on the course, Crofford earned the Nebraska Women’s Most Valuable Runner honor for the third straight year. Crofford became the fourth women’s runner since the award was created in 1983 to earn the honor three times in a career, joining Sammie Resh (1986-88), Fran ten Bensel (1990-92) and Ann Gaffigan (2001-03).
Crofford started the year by winning the Huskers’ lone home meet at the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational. Her win led the women’s squad to its fifth straight team title, and Crofford became the sixth Husker to win the meet title on the women’s side during the event’s 20-year history. She then took 19th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and 35th at the Indiana State Pre-Nationals to wrap up the regular season.
At the Big 12 Championships, Crofford was the first Husker to cross the finish line for the third straight year with a 16th-place time of 22:06.4 to lead NU to a fourth-place team finish. She then earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships with an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional, where she also earned All-Region honors for the third-straight year. Running as an indivual at the NCAA Championships, Crofford placed 113th with a time of 21:24.0.
She redshirted during the 2010 track season with an illness.
Following an outstanding freshman campaign that saw her earn an individual trip to the NCAA Championships, Crofford returned even stronger as a sophomore in 2008. Crofford finished in the top 10 at the first six meets of the season, before placing 45th at the NCAA Championships. The Newville, Pa., native became only the second Husker in the Big 12 era to earn two All-Big 12 honors during a career, joining teammate Ari Goldstein, who achieved the feat in 2006 and 2007.
Crofford opened 2008 with a victory at the BYU Invitational, leading a 1-2 Husker finish with teammate Rachel Carrizales trailing Crofford’s winning time of 19:10.9. Two weeks later, Crofford paced the Big Red to its fourth straight Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational team title at Pioneers Park, finishing second with a time of 21:32.3. She then got back on the winning track at the South Dakota State Classic, winning the 5K meet in 17:31.
Crofford made her presence felt nationally at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 18, finishing 10th in the white division with a time of 20:38.3, leading the Huskers to a ninth-place team finish in one of the most competitive regular-season meets of the year.
At the Big 12 Championships, Crofford improved her 2007 ninth-place finish with a sixth-place showing, leading the Husker women to their third straight third-place showing. She again showed improvement at the NCAA Midwest Regional, moving from ninth in 2007 to seventh in 2008, leading the Huskers to a third-place finish and an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.
Crofford saw her biggest improvement of the year when it mattered most, jumping 40 spots at the NCAA Championships from 85th in 2007 to 45th in 2008, running a time of 20:45.4. Her finish led the Huskers to a 25th-place finish in the 31-team field, the squad’s top finish since 1999.
During the 2009 track season, Crofford earned four more All-Big 12 honors, as she medaled in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters indoor and the 5,000 and 10,000 meter outdoors. She also competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meter for the second straight year, finishing 13th with a time of 34:48.31.
Crofford had one of the most impressive freshman seasons in school history in 2007, earning the team’s Most Valuable Runner award. Crofford was the first Husker to cross the finish line at every meet during the season.
She started her collegiate career at the Creighton/UNO Classic, winning with a time of 18:34 on the 5K course. Two weeks later at the Woody Greeno, Crofford came in second with a time of 22:29.3 on the 6K course, trailing only Beverly Ramos of Kansas State, who Crofford came back to beat at the conference meet.
After finishing 18th at the NCAA Pre-National meet, Crofford earned All-Big 12 honors with a ninth-place finish at the conference championships with a time of 20:59.2. She followed her conference performance with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional, which earned her NCAA Midwest All-Region and USTFCCCA Midwest All-Region honors. Crofford ended her season at the NCAA Championships, where she finished 85th with a time of 21:26.7. Crofford was the first Nebraska freshman since Jeannette Zimmer in 1998 to make a trip to the NCAA Championships. Zimmer finished 70th.
High School (Big Spring)
Crofford was one of the top prep runners in the nation with an impressive career at Big Spring High School under Coach Robert Jumper.
The first-team all-state honoree ended her high school running career with the 2007 Pennsylvania Class AAA 3,200-meter title, which carried momentum into June’s prestigious Nike Outdoor Nationals. At the national meet in Greensboro, N.C., Crofford captured runner-up honors in the 5,000-meter run (16:43.46) and finished sixth in the two-mile (10:28.67) to earn high school All-America status. Her 5,000-meter time was the third-fastest time by an American prep in 2007.
On the cross country course, Crofford was nearly as impressive, taking back-to-back runner-up finishes at the 2005 and 2006 state meets. She also finished 14th at the 2006 Northeast Footlocker Cross Country Championships. Off the course, Crofford was a member of the National Honor Society.
Lara is the daughter of Cliff and Irene Crofford and was born on May 29, 1989, in Fayetteville, N.C. She has a sister, Caitlin, and a brother, Daniel. Crofford is majoring in nutrition, health and exercise science at Nebraska.