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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Eye on POY: Kansas girls cross country

By Ben Rohrbach

The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These state meet winners made a case in their respective classifications, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Alli Cash
Junior, Shawnee Mission West (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 2nd (Class 6A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—14:36.70 (4K)

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 5th—18:25.47
2011 Nike Cross Nationals Finals (Place—time): 5th—18:25.47

Kaelyn Balch
Junior, Bishop Carroll Catholic (Wichita, Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class 5A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:07.70 (4K)

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 10th—18:32.59

Cheyenne Becker
Senior, Pratt (Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 4th (Class 4A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:19.95 (4K)

Emily Sechrist
Freshman, Hillsboro (Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: DNQ (Class 3A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:03.80 (4K)

Jenna Farris
Junior, Lincoln (Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: DNQ (Class 2A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:40.35 (4K)

Audrey Schmitz
Junior, Axtell (Kan.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 3rd (Class 1A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:48.99 (4K)

Winning the state meet isn't a prerequisite for Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year, so here are some more of many other harriers whose performances this past season vaulted them into the conversation during this 2011 campaign.

Amber Eichkorn: Senior, Wichita North (Wichita, Kan.)
Caitlin Hooper: Junior, Shawnee Mission West (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
Emily Hornbeck: Senior, Derby (Kan.)
Lynn Robinson: Senior, Lawrence Free State (Lawrence, Kan.)
Alaina Schroeder: Sophomore, Manhattan (Kan.)
Deidra Walker: Freshman, Maize (Kan.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Runner of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.