A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
THE WINNER: Haley Pierce
School: The Tatnall School (Wilmington, Del.)
Athletic achievement: Pierce raced to a third consecutive Division II individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:28.19, leading the Hornets to first place as a team. The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Pierce placed second at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional championships in 17:11.10 in addition to finishing second at the Nike Cross Nationals Final in 17:42. A two-time William L. Gerow Award recipient as the state’s top runner, she also captured first place at the Great American Cross Country Festival this past fall.
Academic excellence: Pierce has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of her school’s environmental club, she has volunteered on behalf of her church’s youth group as well as the Sunday Breakfast Mission for the homeless.
“Pierce was really challenged this fall between a foot injury that delayed the start of her season and nagged at her all season long,” said Steve Underwood, ESPNHS DyeStat Senior Editor. “But she set a state meet record and when the stakes were highest at Nike Cross Nationals, Pierce came up with the best cross country race of her career -- second in the nation to lead her Tatnall team to third place.”
THE FUTURE: Pierce has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Georgetown University beginning this fall.