Return of the ROY: S.C.'s Roland Hakes

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Cross Country Runners of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for …

Name: Roland Hakes

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: Dutch Fork (S.C.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-10

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade South Carolina Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010 ESPN RISE/DyeStat Cross Country Top 25 series Honorable Mention selection ... 2010 All-State qualifier ... 2009 Class AAAA state meet 16th-place finisher ... 2008 Class AAAA state meet 68th-place finisher


Academics: B-plus average

Extracurricular activities: lifeguard at a community pool ... volunteered as an active member of his church’s youth group

Dutch Fork High head coach Barry Lindler: “Roland is an amazing individual and student-athlete. He is focused, and he understands the goal of the training program as well as patience and the value of hard work. His focus is always what is best for the team, and he never seeks recognition for his accomplishments. Roland takes every race as a learning experience, analyzes everything and applies what he learns.”

Each Gatorade State Runner of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys cross country underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11 …

Colby Coulter SR Lexington; Tony Morales SO Lexington; Sage Kosiorek SR Boiling Springs; Jack Manesiotis JR Hilton Head; James Quattlebaum SO Christ Church; Layne Mather SR Porter-Gaud

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf. Candidates are judged upon athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must also demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Any class year is eligible, senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.