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: Hailey Ricks
School: Star Valley (Afton, Wyo.)
Athletic achievement: Ricks raced to the Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 19:54.36, leading the Braves to second place as a team. A 2011 Class 3A First Team All-State selection and a former two-time Class 4A First Team All-State honoree, she earned 25th place at the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 19:22.6.
Academic excellence: Ricks has maintained a 3.38 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with her church youth group and recently completed a service mission trip to Peru.
“I have had the pleasure of watching Hailey Ricks grow as an athlete and a student,” said Star Valley head coach Ty Draney. “I’ve seen her mature greatly and watched as her experiences have taught her the importance of hard work and discipline.”
THE FUTURE: Ricks will begin her senior year of high school this fall.