Never one to rest on her laurels, the Cartersville senior turned in one of her finest seasons, breaking the 20-minute mark in the Region 7-AAA meet with a third-place finish in a time of 19:57. The race signaled the first time Anderson had run a sub-20 race since she was a freshman.
"She's just so aggressive and competitive when the lights are on," Cartersville coach David Matherne said of Anderson, The Daily Tribune News' All-County Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. "When it's showtime, she just commands that stage and is great, and always has been. ... It's just in her DNA."
Anderson, who qualified for the state meet all four years, returned to her rightful place as the top female runner in the county, capturing the Bartow County Championship for the third time last September.
"It's hard to look at her senior year without reflecting on her freshmen year as well, because it's rare that you have an athlete, boys or girls, all four years -- particularly girls," Matherne said. "She grew into a leader, which early [on], she was the best one we had. She's been the best one we had for four years. No one's beaten her."
Anderson's cross country dominance can be viewed as something that is rather remarkable, especially when taking into account that she often played club soccer in the fall, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
"She's balanced well all of her responsibilities," Matherne said. "She's an outstanding student. That was a huge priority for her."
Asked of the potential for Anderson had she been a full-time runner, the Cartersville coach acknowledged there would have been some improvement in her times.
"The difference would have been relatively small but, in cross country, every second counts. But had she been a full-time cross country runner, she might not have gotten her soccer scholarship," Matherne said of the Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) University-bound Anderson.
While Matherne said he may have felt angst when she was not running a meet, there was comfort in knowing the kind of effort being given elsewhere.
"She's the kind of athlete that you knew when she wasn't with us, she was working hard. Some days she would do doubles [practice soccer and cross country]," Matherne said. "I can't say enough about how proud I am of her for doing that."
One of the coach's more memorable races of Anderson's career further exemplifies her value and dedication to the team.
"Probably one of the best races she ran was one she didn't win, that was [at] region last year ," Matherne said of Anderson, who had been battling bronchitis at the time. "She looked miserable all day and we go up to Heritage[-Catoosa]. ... I wasn't going to run her, and I was preparing the team for that."
With a spot at the state meet possibly at stake, however, Anderson told her coach she had to run.
After she sought his council, Matherne -- himself an accomplished long-distance runner -- gave his runner some advice on how to approach a race while under the weather, telling her not to expend too much energy at the beginning of the race.
"[She was] half a mile [into the race], and she kind of just takes charge to the front," said Matherne, who thought "oh no" as his runner positioned herself in the third spot. "She held on and towards the end of the race, she kind of had a lot of juice left."
Cartersville's girls team finished as runner-up behind host Heritage and a spot ahead of Carrollton.
"We weren't expected to beat Carrollton and when Lindsay got sick, we definitely weren't expected to beat Carrollton," Matherne said.
Moments like that place her in elite company not only in the county but in school history, too.
"The No. 2 girl of all-time [in Cartersville history]. ... She's only  seconds from the school record," Matherne said of Anderson's personal record of 19:37, set during the region meet at Dellinger Park her freshman year.
"Keonya Davis was a state champion," he added of the top girl in the Cartersville record books. "Lindsay's highest finish was seventh her freshman year, but Keonya always ran [Class] AA, and we're in AAA now.
"She's in a rare air, that's for sure," Matherne said of Anderson.