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: Sophie Chase
School: Lake Braddock (Burke, Va.)
Athletic achievement: Chase raced to the Group AAA individual state championship with a time of 17:33 this past season. Also the Runner of the Year as named by The Washington Post, she placed second at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 17:06 in addition to finishing 11th at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 17:44.2. Chase also won the MileStat.com Invitational in a course-record time of 17:22 and finished this past fall unbeaten against in-state competition. She captured second place at the 2010 Group AAA state meet as a sophomore and finished third in 2009 as a freshman.
Academic excellence: Also an accomplished swimmer, Chase has maintained a 4.19 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth running and swim instructor, she has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics and the Girls on the Run non-profit organization to promote healthy lifestyle choices among youth student-athletes.
“Although she did not start her running career until ninth grade, Sophie has excelled due to her outstanding work ethic and attention to detail,” said Lake Braddock head coach Mike Mangan. “She has taken ownership of her efforts through consultation with her coaches. Sophie is also a tremendous team player and leader, always helping and encouraging others on her team with their running.”
THE FUTURE: Chase will begin her senior year of high school this fall.