Peabody's Rocha named Runner of the Year

In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Catarina Rocha of Peabody High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Rocha is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Peabody High School.

The 5-foot-4 senior captured first place at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships this past season with a time of 17:49.5. Rocha qualified for the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where she finished in second place, crossing the line in 17:29. Also the 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, she won her second straight Division I individual championship with a time of 18:06.12, leading the Tanners to a state title as a team.

Rocha has maintained an A-average in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and an officer in her school’s student council, she has volunteered locally as a basketball coach for children with special needs.

“Catarina Rocha is an exceptional runner,” said Lisa Owen, head coach at Acton-Boxborough High. “She is the best I have seen in the state in a long time. No one else comes close.”

Rocha has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Providence College beginning this fall.

Rocha joins Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Ariel Beauregard-Breton (2010-11, Deerfield Academy), Andrea Keklak (2009-10, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) and Emily Jones (2008-09 & 2007-08, The Bromfield School), and as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.