High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Versailles

Ohio Boys XC ROY: Sam Prakel

January, 23, 2012
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 Prakel


School: Versailles (Ohio)
Grade: Junior
Height: 5-foot-10


Athletic achievement: Prakel raced to the Division III individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:19.34. A 2011 First Team All-State selection, he took 14th at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships in 16:15.2. He also placed 80th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 16:11.

Academic excellence: Prakel has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and ranks first in his graduating class.

Exemplary character: An accomplished trombonist in his school’s concert and marching bands, he has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with the Boys Scouts of America and his church youth group.

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Eye on POY: Ohio Boys Cross Country

January, 13, 2012
The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys 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?

Tsehaye Hiluf
Senior, Reynoldsburg (OH)

2011 Team postseason standing: Did Not Qualify (Division I)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): First—15:21.52

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 20th—16:21

Steven Weaver
Senior, Napoleon (OH)

2011 Team postseason standing: Did Not Qualify (Division II)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): First—15:25.09

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 72nd—16:09

Sam Prakel
Junior, Versailles (OH)

2011 Team postseason standing: Ninth (Division III)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): First—15:19.34

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 80th—16:11

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional
(Place—time): 14th—16:15.2
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.

Ryan Polman: Senior, Independence (OH)
Sam Wharton: Junior, Tippecanoe (OH)

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