Eye on POY: Tennessee girls cross country

The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These state meet winners made a case in their respective classifications, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Haley Ward

Junior, McMinn County (Athens, Tenn.)

2011 Team postseason standing: DNQ (Class AAA)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—18:41.84

Barbara Lee Ball

Junior, David Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.)

2011 Team postseason standing: DNQ (Class A-AA)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—19:21.93

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 27th—18:45.10

Reagan Freeman

Freshman, Harpeth Hall School (Nashville, Tenn.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Division II, Class AA)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—18:59.32

Natalie Ritchie

Senior, Webb School of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 2nd (Division II, Class A)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—19:40.12

Winning the state meet isn't a prerequisite for Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year, so here are some more of many other harriers whose performances this past season vaulted them into the conversation during this 2011 campaign.

Allison Cheeseman: Sophomore, Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.)

Nicole Gardner: Freshman, Siegel (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

Martha McCoy: Junior, Science Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Erika Peoples: Senior, Ravenwood (Brentwood, Tenn.)

Rachel Wooten: Senior, Franklin (Tenn.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Runner of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.