A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys 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.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Thomas Graham
School: Cary Academy (Cary, N.C.)
Athletic achievement: Graham raced to fourth consecutive North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:09.10, leading the Chargers to second place as a team. He placed fifth at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 14:52 and captured ninth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 15:24.4, earning All-American honors this past fall. He finished 20th at the 2010 Foot Locker nationals as a junior.
Academic excellence: Also an accomplished chorus singer, Graham has maintained a 3.86 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: The senior class secretary and a member of Cary Academy’s award-winning math team, he has volunteered as part of multiple community-service initiatives on behalf of the National Honor Society and his school’s Key Club International chapter.
“Thomas has a love of running that has allowed him to stay positive and enthusiastic through many years of consistent, dedicated, disciplined and intelligent training,” said Cary Academy head coach Conrad Hall. “In competition, he is smart and incredibly mentally tough. He’s not just a tough competitor, but he’s a student of the sport, and his knowledge of running, training and racing, continues to grow and make him a better runner.”
THE FUTURE: Graham has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Stanford University beginning this fall.