A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jaide Stepter
School: Canyon del Oro (Oro Valley, Ariz.)
Athletic achievement: Stepter won three individual state championships at the Division II state meet this spring, leading the Dorados to second place as a team. Also The Arizona Republic Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, she won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.43 seconds, 300-meter hurdles in a state-record time of 42.01 seconds and long jump with a leap of 19 feet, three inches. Stepter placed second in the 200-meter dash in 24.54 seconds. Stepter’s 300-meter hurdles and long jump efforts at the state meet both ranked among the nation’s top 25 performances by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.
Academic excellence: Stepter has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 5 in her graduating class.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth athletic instructor and at multiple community track events in association with the mission to fight childhood obesity, she has volunteered on behalf of her church and the annual El Tour de Tucson.
“She’s a heck of an athlete, and that’s saying it mildly,” said Steve Carney, head coach at rival Catalina Foothills (Tucson, Ariz.). “She’s pretty awesome. Our schools are about 10 miles apart, and we face off in every sport you can imagine. She has an older sister, and when she graduated, I said, 'Oh, thank God.’ Then, the very next year, out walks Jaide. And look out. She’s done even more than her sister. She’s been awesome. There isn’t anything she can’t do.”
THE FUTURE: Stepter has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at the University of Southern California this fall.