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Return of the ROY: Tony Smoragiewicz

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: Tony Smoragiewicz

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: Rapid City Central (S.D.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-8

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade South Dakota Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... three-time First Team All-State selection ... 2010 Class AA state meet individual champion ... 2010 Foot Locker Midwest Regional third-place finisher ... 2010 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships third-place finisher ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional individual champion ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Final ninth-place finisher

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Academics: 4.0 GPA (No. 1 in graduating class of 486 students)

Extracurricular activities: accomplished alto saxophonist in his school’s concert band and jazz band ... devoted parishioner in his church community ... volunteered locally as a peer leader and elementary school guest speaker

Rapid City Central head coach Loren Kambestad: “Tony Smoragiewicz is a mature young man with many abilities that make him a fine leader. He is extremely goal-oriented, both academically and athletically. Anyone who has had the privilege to come in contact with him will sense the exceptional qualities that he exhibits.”

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 …

Tanner Ahrendt JR Roosevelt; Dysan Lends High Horse SR Cheyenne-Eagle Butte

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.