Thoughts with fallen rider at women's Little 500

Lauren Gill

Joy and prayer filled the atmosphere at Friday's 27th women's Little 500 at Indiana University.

Kappa Alpha Theta crossed the finish line for its fifth championship in the 100-lap race.

But fans in the stands were also thinking of a cyclist who did not make this year's race. IU nursing team member Lauren Gill suffered a critical head injury when she launched off the bike during practice last week. She is still hospitalized.

Fans remembered Lauren in the opening prayer.

"We ask you to keep her, Lord. Grant her a full and speedy recovery," an announcer read.

"When they ended the prayer with her and that was the last thought anyone had before the race, it was the most touching thing we could ask for," said nursing team supporter Morgan Wehmer.

More than 1,000 people at the race wore Band-Aids bearing Lauren's name.

There was another scary moment during Friday's race when two bikes got tangled up in the first turn early in the event. One rider went to the hospital to be checked out.