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: Meredith Kilburn
School: Fort Mill (S.C.)
Athletic achievement: Kilburn raced to the Class AAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:10, leading the Yellow Jackets to fourth place as a team. Also named Runner of the Year by SCRunners.com and High School Sports Report, she placed 42nd at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 18:16. Kilburn also captured first place at the Trojan Invitational, Furman Invitational, York County Championships, Region 4-AAA meet and Class AAA Upper State meet this past fall. The Fort Mill standout finished sixth at the 2010 Class AAA state meet as a junior and seventh in 2008 and 2009 as a freshman and sophomore.
Academic excellence: Kilburn has maintained a 5.07 weighted GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 2 in her graduating class.
Exemplary character: A member of her school’s Beta Club chapter and chemistry club, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church, the Humane Society, a charitable running event and the Girls on the Run non-profit organization to promote healthy lifestyle choices among youth student-athletes.
“Meredith is an extremely driven individual,” said Fort Mill head coach Marc Pyrc. “She holds herself to a standard of excellence that is not often seen in a high school age student. She is a great runner and an outstanding student. She is a model of sportsmanship and makes those around her better. I’m sure she will have a tremendous senior track season and then do quite well in the college ranks.”
THE FUTURE: Kilburn remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.