Oregon Girls Cross Country ROY: Sara Tsai

Sara Tsai captured 15th place at the Nike Cross Nationals Final this past fall. Andy Kiyokawa/ESPNHS

A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.



School: South Eugene (Eugene, Ore.)

Grade: Freshman

Height: 5-foot


Athletic achievement: Tsai raced to second at the Class 6A state meet this past season with a time of 18:10, leading the Axemen to the state title as a team. She then finished fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships in 18:27.9 and was 15th at the NXN Final, clocking an 18:17. Tsai also earned victories at the Special District 1 Championships and the Concordia Adidas Classic.

Academic excellence: Tsai has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth soccer programs and has served as part of her school’s student government.


“Sara’s talent is obvious, but her personality and demeanor are more significant to her long-term success,” said South Eugene head coach Jeff Hess. “She’s incredibly supportive of her teammates, but also completely focused on her own preparation and performance.”

THE FUTURE: Tsai will begin her sophomore year of high school this fall.