In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Wesley Gallagher of Pembroke High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Gallagher is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Pembroke.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Gallagher as Massachusetts’s best high school boys cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Gallagher joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-8 senior raced to the Division II individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:43, leading the Titans to second place as a team. Gallagher earned third place and was the fastest Massachusetts competitor at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships, crossing the line in 16:14.6. He qualified for the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Final, where he finished 70th in 16:13.
Gallagher has maintained a 3.49 GPA in the classroom. An accomplished guitarist, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and as a summer camp counselor and lifeguard.
“Wesley Gallagher is an exceptional athlete and I have watched him grow and mature in recent years,” said David Jewett, head coach of rival Hingham High. “He is personable, respectful and always displays good sportsmanship. He is clearly very talented and has worked very hard for his success.”
Gallagher remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Gallagher joins Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year John Murray (2010-11, Shrewsbury High School), Patrick McGowan (2009-10, Mansfield), Mike Moverman (2008-09, Oliver Ames), and Robert Gibson (2007-08, Brookline) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
Below are the winners from the other five New England states:
CONNECTICUT: CONNOR ROG, FAIRFIELD COLLEGE PREP
The 5-foot-7 senior raced to the Class LL individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:50, leading the Jesuits to the state title as a team. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Rog also won the State Open Championships in 15:22 and finished second at the New England Cross Country Championships with a time of 15:27. He earned victories at the Wickham Park Invitational, the Wilton Invitational, the Woods Trail Run, the Jesuit Championships and the Southern Connecticut Conference Championships, and finished 18th nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.
Rog has maintained a 3.20 GPA in the classroom. Also a talented musician, he has volunteered on behalf of a local nursing home and participated in a service-mission trip to help disabled children in Jamaica.
“Connor manages the challenging task of pursuing his own goals within the context of a team,” said Fairfield Prep head coach Robert Ford Jr. “He’s shown excellent leadership and continues to grow as a runner and a fine young man.”
Rog has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of North Carolina beginning this fall.
Rog also won the award in 2010-11. He joins Gatorade Connecticut Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year John Raneri (2009-10, 2008-09, New Fairfield) and Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
RHODE ISLAND: MIKE MARSELLA, CHARIHO
The 6-foot-1 senior raced to the All-State Meet individual championship this past season with a time of 15:51, leading the Chargers to second place as a team. A First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Track Coaches Association, Marsella won the New England Cross Country Championships in 15:26. He took fourth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 16:14.7 and finished 19th at the Nike Cross Nationals Final in 15:42.96.
Also a track standout, Marsella has maintained a 3.52 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of charity road races, community cleanup efforts, the Westerly Senior Citizens Center and the WARM Center to benefit the homeless.
“In nearly 40 years of coaching I have never had a student athlete who comes close to the talent of Mike Marsella,” said Chariho head coach Bill Haberek. “His quality performances have led to team successes impacting Chariho athletic history. His character, determination, work ethic and leadership have impacted the Chariho running program in a most positive way.”
Marsella remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Marsella joins Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Ryan Meehan (2010-11, Bishop Hendricken High School), Jake Sienko (2009-10, Bishop Hendricken), Andrew Springer (2008-09, Westerly), and Nick Ross (2007-08, East Greenwich) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: COLTON HAM, MERRiMACK VALLEY
The 6-foot senior raced to the Division 2 individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:10, leading the Pride to fourth place as a team. A First Team All-State selection as named by the New Hampshire Union Leader, Ham placed seventh at the Meet of Champions in 15:58.50 and finished 25th at the New England Cross Country Championships in 16:25. Ham took second in the Manchester Invitational Large School competition this past fall, crossing the line in 16:24. He recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 Division 2 state meet as a junior.
Ham has maintained a B average in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a youth running instructor, he has volunteered locally as part of charitable running events, an elementary school health fair and tornado cleanup efforts.
“Colton’s success came as a result of years of hard work and dedication to the sport of distance running,” said Merrimack Valley head coach Dave Irving. “He improved consistently each year, each year surpassing others who had previously been ahead of him. His continued improvement is his most impressive quality—that fact that he exemplifies the success that continued focus, goal-setting, and hard work can bring you.
Ham remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Ham joins Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Samuel Gagnon (2010-11, Manchester Central High School), Eric Jenkins (2009-10, Portsmouth), Eric Malnati (2008-09, Fall Mountain Regional), and Alex McGrath (2007-08, ConVal) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
MAINE: MATT MCCLINTOCK, MADISON AREA MEMORIAL
The 5-foot-10 senior raced to a third consecutive Class C individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:00. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, McClintock placed sixth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 15:51.2 and 15th at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 15:31.3. He earned third at the New England Cross Country Championships in 15:39.
Also a track standout, McClintock has maintained an A average in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in his graduating class. A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered on behalf of the Athens Craft Fair, the Madison Food Pantry and his school’s Thanksgiving dinner for senior citizens, in addition to donating his time as a youth athletic instructor.
“Matt is a self-motivated person with set goals,” said Madison Area Memorial head coach Robert Hagopian. “He has met and exceeded all his goals that he set for himself. Matt did this by hard work and setting high standards for himself. I have been coaching for over 30 years, and he is truly the ideal student-athlete, who I will miss greatly next year.”
McClintock has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Purdue University beginning this fall.
McClintock joins Gatorade Maine Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Will Geoghegan (2009-10, 2008-09, Brunswick) and Nick Williams (2007-08, Poland Regional) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
VERMONT: MALCOLM PLUNKETT, SOUTH BURLINGTON
The 6-foot-3 junior raced to the Division I individual state championship this past season with a course-record time of 16:56, leading the Rebels to third place as a team. Plunkett also earned victories at the Manchester Invitational and the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference Metro championships.
Plunkett has maintained a 3.93 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth track programs and has participated in a service-mission trip to Ghana.
“Malcolm is extremely devoted to his running and his team, and he’s only going to get better with more experience, strength and continued confidence,” said South Burlington head coach Geoff Bennett. “He’s a great kid and a solid worker.”
Plunkett will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
Plunkett joins Gatorade Vermont Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Brendan Copley (2010-11, Colchester), David Sinclair (2009-10, Green Mountain Valley), Adron Pitmon (2008-09, Mt. Mansfield Union), and Kyle Powers (2007-08, St. Johnsbury Academy) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.