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: Rebekah Topham
School: Griswold (Iowa)
Athletic achievement: Topham raced to the Class 1A individual state championship this past season with a time of 13:59 over the 4-kilometer course, breaking the tape 32 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor and leading the Tigers to third place as a team. It was the fastest time ever by a freshman at the state meet. She won all 10 of her races against in-state competition and placed eighth at the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championship, clocking an 18:30.2.
Academic excellence: A home-schooled student, Topham has maintained a 3.26 GPA.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her church youth group.
“Rebekah is an incredible runner. Her running mechanics are near perfect, making her efficient and fun to watch,” said Jane Hall Chaillie, Griswold head coach. “Besides her individual pursuit of excellence, she is a super team player, too.”
THE FUTURE: Topham will begin her sophomore year of high school this fall.