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.
THE WINNER: Haley Ward
School: McMinn County (Athens, Tenn.)
Athletic achievement: Ward raced to the Class AAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:41.83. The 2011 Prep Xtra Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, she also won the Class AAA Region 3 meet in 19:36.40, crossing the line 37 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor.
Academic excellence: Ward has maintained a 3.8 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A standout varsity soccer and basketball player, she has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives on behalf of the National Honor Society.
“Haley Ward is an exceptional competitor,” said Peter Mueller, head coach of rival Ravenwood (Brentwood, Tenn.). “I watched her perform at the state meet and she dominated in Class AAA, which is the toughest class in the state.”
THE FUTURE: Ward will begin her senior year of high school this fall.