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: Alex Hess
School: Roosevelt (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Athletic achievement: Hess raced to the Class AA individual state championship this past season with a time of 14:19.5, setting a state meet course record. A 2011 First Team All-State selection, she earned 59th place at the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships in 19:31 and placed 101st at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 19:40.
Academic excellence: Hess has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and is a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist.
Exemplary character: An active member of her church community, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the American Cancer Society, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“Alex Hess is one of the finest distance runners in South Dakota,” said Jesse Coy, head coach of rival Stevens (Rapids City, S.D.). “She ran exceptionally well at the state meet this year, winning with a great time.”
THE FUTURE: Hess remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.