Return of the ROY: Jacob Burcham

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: Jacob Burcham

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Junior

School: Cabell Midland (W.V.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-9

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade West Virginia Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010 First Team All-State selection ... 2009 and 2010 First Team All-Conference selection ... 2010 Class AAA state meet individual champion ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional fifth-place finisher ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Final 16th-place finisher


Academics: 3.67 GPA

Extracurricular activities: volunteered locally as a peer tutor ... donated time to multiple community-service initiatives in association with his church youth group

Cabell Midland head coach Chris Parsons: “Jacob Burcham has been able to accomplish a lot of impressive things in a very short amount of time. He is a very self-motivated and driven distance runner.”

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 …

Brody Born JR Preston; Tyler Salmons SR Cabell Midland; Andrew Shaffer SR Richwood

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.