Texas Boys XC ROY: Craig Nowak

A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys 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.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Craig Nowak


School: Cypress Woods (Cypress, Texas)

Grade: Senior

Height: 5-foot-11


Athletic achievement: Nowak raced to the Class 5A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:16.05, leading the Wildcats to fourth place as a team. He won the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 14:37 and finished 14th at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. The Nike South Invitational winner, he also took third at the Nike Cross Nationals South Regional championship and third at the NXN Final with a time of 15:26.70.

Academic excellence: Nowak has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church youth group, he has volunteered locally on behalf of an area retirement home and community cleanup and recycling initiatives. He has also participated in a service-mission trip to Mexico.


“Craig sets his goals high and works harder than anyone to achieve them,” said Cypress Woods head coach Gregory Zarate. “He’s an outstanding athlete and student and a true role model for his teammates and school.”

THE FUTURE: Nowak has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Oklahoma State University beginning this fall.