Return of the ROY: Delaware's Haley Pierce

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: Haley Pierce

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: The Tatnall School (Del.)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-7

Notes: 2009-10 and 2010-11 Gatorade Delaware Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010-11 Gatorade Delaware Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year ... 2009 and 2010 Runner of the Year (William L. Gerow Award winner) as named by the New Castle County Coaches Cross Country and Track Association ... Ranked No. 16 on 2010 ESPN DyeStat XC Top 25 series ... 2008 and 2009 ESPN DyeStat XC Top 25 series Honorable Mention selection ... 2008, 2009 and 2010 First Team All-State selection ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional individual champion ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Final fifth-place finisher ... 2009 and 2010 Division II state meet individual champion ... 2009 Nike Cross Nationals seventh-place finisher ... 2008 Division II state meet individual runner-up ... three-time Division II state meet team champion


Academics: 3.73 GPA

Extracurricular activities: track standout ... member of her school's environmental club ... church youth group volunteer ... Sunday Breakfast Mission for the homeless

ESPNHS Dyestat Senior Editor Steve Underwood: "Haley got off to a modest start, by her standards, but by the middle of the season -- starting with a third in the ultra-competitive Eastern States race -- she was super. With her state title, Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional win and fifth-place finish at NXN Final, she compiled one of the best cross country seasons ever by a Delaware runner."

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

Julie Macedo SR Charter School of Wilmington; Reagan Anderson JR Tatnall; Lexi Santer SO Charter School of Wilmington; Amanda Rickert JR Charter School of Wilmington

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.