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: Alli Cash
School: Shawnee Mission West
(Overland Park, Kan.)
Athletic achievement: Cash raced to the Class 6A individual state championship this past season with a time of 14:36.70, leading the Vikings to second place as a team. The Bob Timmons Award recipient as the top performer at the state meet, Cash placed fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships in 18:25.47 in addition to finishing 40th at the Nike Cross Nationals Final in 18:37. She finished eighth at the 2010 Class 6A state meet as a sophomore and third in 2009 as a freshman.
Academic excellence: Cash has maintained a 4.42 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and her school’s dance team, she has volunteered locally on behalf of a soup kitchen, her school’s Cadet Teaching peer-mentoring program and the Johnson County Christmas Bureau food and clothing drive.
“Alli is a very intrinsically motivated athlete,” said Shawnee Mission West High head coach Jeff Onnen. “She doesn’t seem to race so much for medals, awards or trophies—or even against other athletes -- so much as she races and competes against herself and her idea of what she’s capable of. She has very high goals for herself and is very disciplined and focused about preparing herself in such a way to be successful on her own terms.”
THE FUTURE: Cash will begin her senior year of high school this fall.