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: Sam Parsons
School: The Tatnall School (Wilmington, Del.)
Athletic achievement: Parsons raced to the Division II individual state championship this past season with a course-record time of 15:34.73, leading the Hornets to first place as a team. The Victor A. Zwolak Award recipient as the state’s top runner, he placed sixth at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional championships in 15:28.10 and 67th at the NXN Final in 16:10.43. A three-time All-State selection, he took third at the 2010 Division II state meet as a junior and finished fifth in 2009 as a sophomore.
Academic excellence: Parsons has maintained a 3.01 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of his school’s strategic games club and head of the Young Republican National Federation chapter, he has volunteered locally on behalf of a food bank, the Special Olympics, Amnesty International and Shoes 2 Share.
“He has so much passion for the sport, and you can tell when you watch him race,” said Tatnall School head coach Patrick Castagno. “He ran the entire state meet out front and alone with two goals in mind: Place first to help his team score and break the 30-year-old existing course record. He did both, and he pushed himself so hard that he broke that record by 20 seconds. To me, this was one of the most impressive races I have ever witnessed as a longtime coach.”
THE FUTURE: Parsons has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at North Carolina State University beginning this fall.