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Return of the ROY: Vt.'s Brendan Copley

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: Brendan Copley

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: Colchester (Vt.)

College: Undecided

Height: 6-foot-1

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Vermont Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010 Division I state meet individual champion ... 2010 New England Cross Country Championships 13th-place finisher ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional 85th-place finisher

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Academics: 3.89 GPA

Extracurricular activities: National Honor Society ... volunteered locally on behalf of food drives ... donated time to a program that provides shoes for children in Africa

Colchester High head coach Morgan Samler: “Brendan is a hard worker who has a true passion for running. Winning the state meet as a junior this year was a statement about the type of runner and person he is.”

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 …

Jack Hegman SR Mt. Mansfield Union; Malcolm Plunkett JR Mt. Abe; Jacob Ellis SR Brattleboro; Ben Bunnell SR St. Johnsbury; Stuart Guertin SR Middlebury; Zach Chatot SO Thetford

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.