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Peachtree Ridge's Lippitt has grown into leadership role

Peachtree Ridge senior Addy Lippitt won the Berry Invitational this year and has positioned herself to be one of the state’s top cross country runners this season. (Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman)

Peachtree Ridge senior Addy Lippitt won the Berry Invitational this year and has positioned herself to be one of the state’s top cross country runners this season. (Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman)

Let’s face it, Peachtree Ridge runner Addy Lippitt needed a confidence boost.

In the spring of 2012 at the state track meet, Lippitt finished in last place in the 3,200-meter run. That took a toll on her confidence.

“That kind of motivated me and it kind of broke me down mentally my junior season,” Lippitt said. “After that I kind of worked my way back up.”

When she lined up for her first cross country race last season, she still had some self-doubt.

“You can’t go into cross country, because it’s all mental, and say this sucks when you know you’re about to race and put your body through hell,” Lippitt said. “It just kind of started off being really bad.”

So when it came time to start her senior campaign at Peachtree Ridge, Lippitt needed a race to help her build some confidence. She got it at the Berry Invitational. Lippitt won the race with a time of 19 minutes, 13 seconds. Now the senior, who considered giving up cross country, has emerged as a state title contender. She’ll get to see where she stacks up against some of the state’s top runners at Saturday’s Gwinnett County cross country championships.

“She knocked the lights out this summer,” Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said. “Not only running, but her leadership, weight training, her work ethic has been unbelievable. She’s really trained hard.”

The turning point for Lippitt was her last-place finish in the two-mile run at the state track meet her sophomore year. She finished a full minute behind the winner and when she walked off the track, she knew she had to get better.

“When she’s not successful or meets her standards, she’s hard on herself,” Clanton said. “She’s a very determined person. She drew a line in the sand and said that’s not going to happen again.”

However, the change wasn’t over night. Lippitt had to do some soul searching and decide if she still wanted to run.

“Running has always been my life,” Lippit said. “It’s just at some points I think every runner has their breaking point.”

Lippitt got her first pick-me-up when she was selected to the IDEALS Athletic Leadership School and later to SALT, the Student-Athlete Leadership Team. The IDEALS programs was a weekly leadership conference where she gained confidence by listening to motivational speakers.

“That helped me a lot mentally,” Lippitt said. “It just helped me kind of get back. I worked really, really hard this summer, so I’m ready for this season. I don’t want to get beat again.”

Lippitt’s leadership has carried over into the Lions’ program. She was selected co-captain with Caroline Williams and has been instrumental in helping Peachtree Ridge become one of the state’s top teams this season.

“Her leadership has been wonderful,” Clanton said. “She takes on the leadership role and it’s like having another coach on the team. She knows what I except with the team.”

Lippitt began the season with her win at the Berry Invitational, a race that featured more than 300 runners. “It didn’t feel too difficult, so I’m excited to see how I do,” Lippitt said. “I think I can go a lot faster than what I did at Berry.”

Two weeks later she followed that up with a third-place finish at the Carrollton Invitational, positing a time of 19:44.58. She was the top finisher from Class AAAAAA.

“She’s gone to the front and battled,” Clanton said.

Now a more confident runner, Lippitt has championship dreams. She would like to lead her team to the Class AAAAAA state title and an individual crown would be a nice addition.

“Obviously, I want to win state. That’s all of our goals,” Lippitt said. “It’s going to be tough to do that, but I believe in my strength and in my training. We’ll see where it takes me.”

THE LIPPITT FILE

Who: Addy Lippitt

School: Peachtree Ridge

Sport: Cross Country

Class: Senior

Favorite sports team: Georgia Bulldogs

Dream job: Own my own cupcake business

Favorite musical group: Munford and Sons

Noteworthy:

• Won the Berry Invitational this season and placed third at the Carrollton Invitational

• Placed 18th at last year’s cross country state meet with a time of 20:42.18

• Member of IDEALS, SALT, freshmen mentor campaign called Enpower and senior leadership team

• Maintains 3.625 GPA

• Older sister Katey plays soccer at Georgia Southern