Return of the ROY: Futsum Zeinasellassie

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Cross Country Runners of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for …

Name: Futsum Zeinasellassie

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: North Central (Ind.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-7

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Indiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010 state meet individual champion ... 2010 Foot Locker Midwest Regional runner-up ... 2010 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships runner-up ... 2009 state meet individual champion ... 2009 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships seventh-place finisher


Academics: B average

Extracurricular activities: devoted member of his church community ... volunteered raising funds to benefit a school in Kenya

North Central head coach Rick Stover: "Futsum has a tremendous work ethic and he loves to compete. He's also very humble and genuine -- a very positive individual and an outstanding leader."

Each Gatorade State Runner of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys cross country underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11 …

Jason Crist SR Franklin; Tate Schienbein SR Union

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf. Candidates are judged upon athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must also demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Any class year is eligible, senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.