In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Carla Forbes of Newton North High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Forbes is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Newton North High School.
The 5-foot-6 junior field athlete won the long jump, with a leap of 19 feet, one inch, and the triple jump, soaring 40 feet, at the All-State Meet this spring, leading the Tigers to first place as a team. An All-Scholastic as named by The Boston Globe and Boston Herald this past winter, Forbes ran the third leg of the second-place 4x100-meter relay squad that crossed the line in 49.78 seconds at the All-State Meet. She also swept the long jump (19 feet, 3.5 inches) and the triple jump (41 feet, two inches) at the Eastern Mass. Division 1 championships, setting meet records in both events. In addition to winning the long jump at the Nike Indoor Nationals in 2011, Forbes won the triple jump at the 2010 Nike Indoor Nationals as a sophomore, the 2011 World Youth Track & Field Trials as a junior and the 2012 New Balance Indoor Nationals this past winter.
Forbes has maintained a 3.71 GPA in the classroom. She has donated her time as a youth athletic instructor and mentor on behalf of the Waltham Track Club.
“Carla has a tremendous competitive spirit and a driving force to be the best that she can be,” said Newton North Head Coach Joe Tranchita. “Her attention to details surpasses any athlete I have coached, as does her work ethic. Her desire to not only be the best, but to do her best each and every workout and competition, has led her to become a real student of her events.”
Forbes will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
Forbes joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Nadia Eke (2010-11, Holy Name Central Catholic High School), Deanna Latham (2009-10, Triton Regional), and Emily Jones (2007-08 & 2008-09, The Bromfield School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
CONNECTICUT: PRECIOUS HOLMES, NEW HAVEN ACADEMY/HILLHOUSE
The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Holmes won the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.51 seconds and the 400-meter dash in 53.92 at the State Open this spring, leading the Academics to second place as a team. A two-time returning All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, the 5-foot-4 junior sprinter swept the 200-meter dash in a class-record 24.04 seconds and 400-meter dash in a class-record 54.42 at the Class MM Championships. She also ran the third leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay squad that broke the tape in 3:58.43. Holmes clocked a 52.67 in the 400-meter dash at the Loucks Games, which ranked as the nation’s No. 4 performance by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.
Holmes has maintained a B average in the classroom at New Haven Academy, where she attends high school and which does not offer a track program. She has donated her time as a youth track instructor in addition to volunteering annually on behalf of her track club at a local road race.
“I can wholeheartedly endorse Precious Holmes as the Gatorade Connecticut Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year,” said Lin Schulte, head coach at rival Jonathan Law High. “She possesses all the qualities necessary while remaining humble and being a role model for other athletes.”
Holmes will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
MAINE: BETHANIE BROWN, WATERVILLE
The 5-foot-3 junior distance runner won the 1,600-meter run with a class-record time of 4:55.23 and the 3,200-meter run in a class-record 10:34.79 at the Class B state meet this spring, leading the Purple Panthers to the state title as a team. Brown ran the second leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay squad that broke the tape in 4:06.77. She also swept the 1,600-meter run in a state-record 4:50.39 and the 3,200-meter run in 10:31.19 at the New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which ranked as the nation’s No. 30 and No. 39 performances, respectively, among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.
Also a cross country standout and an avid writer of poetry, Brown has maintained a 4.31 weighted GPA in the classroom. She has received her school’s Renaissance Award, presented to students who excel in academics, service and character on behalf of the nationwide Renaissance Program. A Student Ambassador for incoming transfer classmates, Brown also donated her time to promoting science in local fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms.
“Bethanie is a tremendous competitor and holds herself to a high standard in all areas of her life,” said Waterville head coach Ian Wilson. “She does not avoid competition, but rather seeks better runners whenever possible. She embraces the opportunity to compete at a national level. Many athletes do not want to face greater competition, fearing their weaknesses may be exposed. Bethanie wants to know what she needs to improve upon, recognizing that the only way to know that is through better competition.”
Brown will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: HILLARY HOLMES, EXETER
The 5-foot-6 senior won three individual state championships at the Division I meet and the Meet of Champions this spring. At the Division I state meet, Holmes won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 3.75 inches and the triple jump with a leap of 38-2 and led the Blue Hawks to the state title. She also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.81 seconds and placed second in the 100-meter hurdles in 14.94. Holmes concluded her prep track career with seven state titles and the state record in the indoor long jump (18-6.25).
Holmes has maintained a 3.84 GPA in the classroom. Selected to attend a state leadership convention for high school athletes, she has volunteered locally as part of fundraising campaigns to benefit the Special Olympics and food pantries and as a youth basketball instructor.
“Hillary Holmes has been dominant,” said Bob Mullen, co-president of the New Hampshire Track & Field Coaches Association. “She is a true student-athlete and an awesome talent.”
Holmes will attend Cornell University this fall, where she will compete with the track & field team.
RHODE ISLAND: MADDY BERKSON, CLASSICAL
The 5-foot-4 sophomore set a state record in the 1,500 meters at the All-State meet, leading the Purple to a third-place finish as a team. Berkson won the 1,500 with a time of 4:27.92, a time which ranked No. 13 in the nation by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection. She also ran the anchor leg for Classical’s winning 4x400-meter relay team. The Rhode Island Track Coaches Association State MVP, she placed second in the 800-meter run at both the All-State Meet and the New England Outdoor Championships.
Berkson has maintained an unweighted 4.12 GPA in the classroom. She is a member of Classical High’s Debate Club and Chess Club.
“The hard thing to remember about Maddy Berkson is that she is still only a sophomore,” said Steve Turgeon, head coach of rival Barrington High. “Her state record in the 1500 was probably most impressive. She broke a record that seemed untouchable.”
Berkson will begin her junior year of high school this fall.
VERMONT: MOLLIE GRIBBIN, SOUTH BURLINGTON
The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, the 5-foot-8 senior won four individual state championships at the Division I state meet for a second straight outdoor season and led the Rebels to a second-place finish as a team. Gribbin won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.10 seconds, the 200-meter dash in 25:16, the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 3.25 inches and the triple jump (39-10). Also the triple jump champion at the New England Outdoor Championships, she concluded her prep track career with 22 individual state titles and 11 state records.
Gribbin has maintained a 3.82 GPA in the classroom. A member of her church youth group, she has volunteered locally as part of fundraising campaigns to benefit leukemia research and as a youth track coach.
“Mollie Gribbin has been the best athlete in Vermont for the past two years in any sport,” said Chip Langmaid, head coach of rival St. Johnsbury Academy. “She has not only destroyed records and won championships, but she has competed in any event that her team needed. I watched her when she was 8 years old and she hasn’t stopped. It has been an honor to compete against her and simply to enjoy watching her compete.”
Gribbin will attend Dartmouth College this fall, where she will compete with the track & field team.