Eye on POY: New Jersey boys cross country

The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys 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?

Stephen Lewandowski

Senior, Mountain Lakes High (Mountain Lakes, NJ)

2011 Team postseason standing: 2nd (Group 1)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:03

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 27th—16:40.5

Matt Nelson

Junior, Barnegat High (Barnegat, NJ)

2011 Team postseason standing: Did not qualify in Group 2

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:19

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 16th—16:23.6

Blake Udland

Senior, Millburn High (Millburn, NY)

2011 Team postseason standing: 3rd (Group 3)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:48

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 8th—15:55.1

2011 Foot Locker nationals (Place—time): 40th—16:54

Tim Ball

Senior, Piscataway High (Piscataway, NJ)

2011 Team postseason standing: Did not qualify in Group 4

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:38

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 3rd—15:47.6

2011 Foot Locker nationals (Place—time): 16th—15:32.7

George Kelly

Senior, Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, NJ)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Non-Public A)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:05

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 5th—16:15.5

2011 Nike Cross Nationals Finals (Place—time): 23rd—15:50

Liam Mullett

Sophomore, Pingry School (Martinsville, NJ)

2011 Team postseason standing: 4th (Non-Public B)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:35

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.

Edward Cheserek: Junior, St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, NJ)

Jack Leahy: Senior, Westfield High (Westfield, NJ)

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 or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.