Return of the ROY: R.I.'s Molly Keating

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: Molly Keating

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-4

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2009 and 2010 First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal ... 2009 and 2010 All-State Meet individual champion ... 2010 All-State Meet team champion ... 2010 Class A meet individual and team champion ... 2008 All-State Meet 12th-place finisher


Academics: A average

Extracurricular activities: volunteered on behalf of her church ... donated her time to her school's peer-mentoring program ... multiple charity-fundraiser road races

La Salle Academy head coach Kelly Martin: “Molly is one of the toughest competitors Rhode Island running has ever seen. She displays an unbelievable desire to be the best, and her work ethic and determination are unparalleled. She is also extremely devoted to her teammates and cares for them a tremendous amount. She comes from a very supportive family, and it shows in the graceful way this champion conducts herself.”

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

Michaela Hackett JR Cranston West; Emily Papazian SR La Salle; Caroline Falvey SO La Salle; Abigail Livingston SO Barrington; Evie Jansen JR La Salle Academy; Alexandria Hackett JR Cranston West; Jackie Burr SO Westerly; Alice Burgess JR Barrington; Caitlin Marino JR La Salle; Fiona Paine JR Barrington; Aisha McAdams JR North Kingstown

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.