Girls' Cross Country Athlete of the Year
Punahou High School, Honolulu, Hawaii
Chang was the state cross country champion as a senior, then ascended
to national recognition by winning the Foot Locker National Cross
Country Championships in December. Chang ran the 3.1-mile course in a
record time of 3:05.8, 17 seconds faster than the previous record set by
Erin Sullivan in 1997. Chang won the race by nine seconds.
"Athletes like Victoria Chang are among the success stories produced in
high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro
said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has
become one of the best cross country runners not only in the state of
Hawaii, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."
Chang also was a four-time state champion in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter
runs, leading Punahou High to the state track and field team title all
four years. She set state records in both events as a junior in 1999,
running the 1,500 in 4:38.83 and the 3,000 in 9:38.03. Chang accepted an
athletic scholarship to Stanford University.
Rockford High School, Rockford, Michigan
"Athletes like Dathan Ritzenheim are among the success stories produced
in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro
said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become
one of the best runners not only in the state of Michigan, but the
entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."
A two-time Class A state champion, Ritzenheim, who will attend the
University of Colorado, has not lost a race in the United States in his
age group the past two years. He is a two-time champion in the Foot
Locker National Cross Country Championships. In the prestigious Penn
Relays this spring, Ritzenheim finished second in the Olympic
Development 5-kilometer race when he ran a time of 13:51.69, the
second-fastest time ever by a high school athlete. The only prep athlete
to better that time, Gerry Lindgren, ran the event in 13:44 in 1964.
Ritzenheim won a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships in
Belgium this spring.
Ukiah High School, Ukiah, Califorina
"Athletes like Amber Trotter are among the success stories produced in
high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said.
"She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one
of the best runners not only in the state of California, but the entire
nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."
Trotter's story is among the most unusual and heart-warming of any
honoree this year, both on and off the course. She overcame an eating
disorder that plagued her much of her junior year to post one of the
most dominating cross country seasons ever in California as a senior.
She won the girls title in the Foot Locker National Cross Country
Championships last December by 40 seconds, the second largest margin of
victory in race history, after finishing seventh as a junior. She won
all eight races she competed in last fall, by an average of
1 minute, 6 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Included were
winning margins of 1:52 in the North Coast Section meet and 45 seconds
in the California state meet.
Instead of selecting one of the Division I powerhouses to pursue her
college career, Trotter will travel all the way across the United States
to attend Division III Middlebury College, located in scenic
Orem High School, Orem, Utah
"Amber Harper's consistency in winning three state titles demostrates
for young athletes that winning never gets old, and that with a
consistent work ethic an athlete can reach the top and remain there,"
said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor
Amber Harper as the Senior Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year."
Harper won her third Utah state individual cross country championship
in the fall of 2002, and led Orem High to the team title in a close
48-51 race with Mountain View High. Upon winning both the individual
title and the team title, Harper's selflessness and true leadership
shined in her post-race comments that focused entirely upon the team
effort. "This is the happiest day of my life as a runner," Harper said
to the Deseret News. "We're a lot closer as a group this year, and I
knew we could do it today." Harper ended her senior cross country season
with a second straight qualifying berth and another top 15 finish at
the prestigious Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships.
Minster High School, Minster, Ohio
Olding, a 4.0-G.P.A. student who will compete for Notre Dame in the
fall, is a three-time state champion. She is also a three-sport athlete
who plays basketball, and is one of the top-ranked two-mile tracksters
in the nation.
Brentwood Academy, Brentwood, Tennessee
Bumbalough set course records on virtually every course he ran on
during his career. A three-time Division II state champion, he broke the
state's 23-year-old course record as a senior, his time of 14:14
winning the race by more than a full minute. Bumbalough also won three
state track titles - twice in the 3,200 and once in the 1,600. The 2004
Foot Locker National Championships runnerup, Bumbalough shattered by 11
seconds the course record held by a former NHSCA Senior Athlete of the
Year - Alan Webb - in the South Regional, and his qualifying time of
14:32 was more than one minute faster than any other runner in the
nation. He will attend Georgetown University.
Warwick Valley High School, Warwick Valley, New York
Ryan's first state and Federation championships last fall - she was the
2004 runner-up - capped a career that has seen her win major races all
over the nation. She was the Foot Locker Girls National champion in 2004
and was the top senior in 2005, finishing third overall. A two-time
Foot Locker Northeast Region runner-up, she also has won the Great
American Cross Country Festival and posted the fastest two-mile time
(10:26.64) in the nation last year. Also an indoor track standout, she
won the mile run at the Stanner Games, Boston Indoor Games and Millrose
Games a year ago. Her time at the Millrose Games was the seventh-fastest
in the history of the prestigious event. She will attend the University
Reno High School, Reno, Nevada
Lawrence finished fifth in the Foot Locker Girls National championship
in 2006, and was the highest placing senior, after posting runnerup
finishes as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She earned Athletes Only
Athlete of the Week honors twice last fall. A three-time Class 4A state
cross country champion, Lawrence led Reno to the state track and field
title this spring by sweeping the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters for the
third time, ending her career with 11 individual state championships,
five relay titles and four state records. She finished 10th in the
3,000-meter steeplechase in the Under-20 World Championships and is the
national high school record holder in the 2,000 and 3,000 meters. She
will attend the University of Washington.
Woodbridge High School, Irvine, California
Babcock finished her career as a two-time Division 2 state cross
country champion, also winning the all-class state crown this fall. Her
time of 17:04 beat the Division 2 field by 40 seconds and was the sixth
fastest time in state history. She began the season three months earlier
by running the fastest 3-mile time in the nation - 16:05 in the
Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, shattering her own personal record by
more than 26 seconds. She was selected as Cross Country Athlete of the
Year twice by the Orange County Register. The two-time defending track
and field state champion in the 1,600 has been outstanding in all three
distance races. In her only 800-meter race this season, she set both a
school and meet record (2:10.15) at the Trabuco Hills Invitational, and
also ran the nation's second-best 3,200 time of 10:04.03 - a race in
which she was the runnerup by less than a second. Babcock will join last
year's Senior Athlete of the Year, Marie Lawrence of Reno (Nev.) High,
at the University of Washington next fall.
The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, Texas
The 6-foot-1 Connor was named the Gatorade National Boys Runner of the
Year after winning the Nike Cross Nationals Championship in 2008 in a
course-record time of 15:13.6. He also set a course record in the Nike
South Regional final. In the Class 5A state tournament, Connor's winning
time of 14:47.19 was the second-fastest in the history of the Texas
state meet. Connor slashed nearly two minutes off the time he ran in the
state meet as a junior and won the race by 12 seconds. He also set
course records in the Andy Wells Invitational and the Aldine
Invitational, and became the third runner ever to break 15 minutes in
the Chile Pepper Festival race in Arkansas. Also an outstanding student
with a 3.7 grade-point average, he will attend the University of
Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Michigan
The 5-foot-8 Goethals was named the Gatorade National Girls Runner of
the Year this year after winning the Foot Locker National Championships
in 17:06.9, winning in a photo finish, the closest in the meet’s 31-year
history. She also won the Foot Locker Midwest Regional title. A
two-time Division 1 cross country state champion, Goethals owns six
course records in Michigan, and she won last fall in 16:54.8, shattering
her own state meet course record by 16 seconds despite a stiff
headwind. Goethals was named the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year in
two sports, cross country (twice) and track and field. In 2009, she won
the 3,200 in a state-record time of 10:37.50, and the 4:51.20 she ran
to win the 1,600 was the second-fastest time in state meet history. In
March, Goethals won the 2-mile run at the Nike Indoor Nationals in
10:10.14, the No. 5 time all-time indoors. Also an outstanding student
with a 3.66 grade-point average, she will attend the University of
Cornwall Central High School, Cornwall, New York
5-foot-4 Cuffe was named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country
Runner of the Year after posting an unbeaten senior season and racing to
the title at the Foot Locker Nationals in a time of 16:53. Her victory
margin of 34 seconds was the third largest in the meet’s 32-year
captured her second Class A state title and also repeated as the
all-class New York Federation champion. She set course records in both
Federation victories, on two separate courses. She finished second in
the Class A and Federation meets as a sophomore. This year, Cuffe also
won the Great American Cross Country Festival, the Manhattan
Invitational and the Foot Locker Northeast Regional. In January, she won
the USA Track and Field Junior Cross Country Championships in San
Diego, Calif. by 26 seconds. The event was a qualifier for the IAAF
World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain in March.
There, Cuffe finished 17th, leading the American contingent. At the
Loucks Memorial Games this month, she ran the nation’s fastest times in
the 1,600 (4:40.56) and the 3,200 (9:56.16). Ranked No. 2 in her class, Cuffe is a four-year member of the Cornwall Central Math Team and its high scorer. She will attend Stanford University.
University Lake School,Hartland, Wisconsin
Last fall, the 5-foot-4 Seidel became just the second Wisconsin girl to become a four-time state champion, joining three-time Olympian Suzy Favor-Hamilton of Stevens Point High (1982-85). Seidel won the Division 3 title in 13:39.59, breaking the all class state record she set last year by five seconds. This spring,she also could become a four-time track and field state champion in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Last spring, her winning times in the 1,600 (4:51.54) and the 3,200 (10:33.15) were Division 3state records. By slashing eight and 22 seconds off those times,respectively, she could claim the all-class record in each event.She won the Foot Locker Midwest Regional (17:08) and the Foot Locker Nationals (17:22) and was named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year and the National Girls Senior Athlete of the Year by xcnation.com. Last year, Seidel also established the national record for 4,000 meters when she won the Lancer Invitational in 13:10.08. Also an outstanding student, Seidel ranks No. 1 in her class with a 4.0 grade-point average,was a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist and scored 34 on the ACT, including a perfect 36 on the English portion. She will attend the University of Notre Dame.
Peabody High School, Peabody, Massachusetts
Rocha, Massachusetts’ two-time state champ, made her mark on the
national scene during her cross-country career. Rocha finished second at
the 2012 Foot Locker National Championships last December, which was an
improvement over 7th place finish as a junior and 31st
place finish as a sophomore. Rocha will attend Providence College in
the fall and will compete in cross country, plus indoor and outdoor
Abington Heights High School, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Tessa Barrett of Abington Heights closed out her senior season by capturing both the Footlocker Girls’ National Championship and the Pennsylvania Class AAA state title while going undefeated during the 2013 season. Barrett accomplished all of the above while suffering from a rare neurological disorder known as migralepsy, which can cause severe migraine headaches followed by epileptic seizure. A number of factors can trigger migralepsy, but the primary provocation is prolonged exposure to the flickering of fluorescent lights. Because Barrett cannot spend her days inside a school building with those lights—incandescent, natural lighting is fine—she takes an online cyber program at home through the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter program. With honors and A.P. classes, Barrett has achieved a 4.0 GPA. Barrett will attend Penn State in the fall. She is the first girls’ cross country runner from Pennsylvania honored by the NHSCA.
Mishawaka High School, Mishawaka, Indiana
Anna Rohrer became only the fifth runner in the 36-year history of the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships to win two titles during her career. Her first Foot Locker title came when she was a sophomore. Rohrer, who will attend Notre Dame, also has two New Balance national titles. She also won four Indiana high school titles, and holds state meet records in both cross country and track.