Gatorade® National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year: Alexa Efraimson Professional Distance Runner Molly Huddle Surprises Standout with Elite Honor
CAMAS, Wash., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recently announced Alexa Efraimson of Camas High School (Camas, Wash.) as its 2013-14 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Efraimson was surprised with the news at school by American record holder in the 5,000 meters and nine time All-American Molly Huddle.
"It was exciting for me to be able to surprise Alexa with the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award because she is such a deserving winner," said Huddle. "Alexa is a well-rounded individual who has already accomplished so much on and off the course, so it's an honor for me to welcome her into the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year family."
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the course, distinguishes Efraimson as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Efraimson from nearly 215,000 high school girls cross country runners nationwide. Efraimson is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special evening ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The 5-foot-8 junior raced to the national title at the Nike Cross Nationals Final this past season, breaking the tape with a course-record time of 16:50.1. The 2012-13 Gatorade Washington Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Efraimson also captured the Class 4A individual state cross country championship with a course-record time of 17:01.1, leading the Papermakers to second place as a team. She also won the Nike Pre-Nationals, the Nike BorderClash and the Bill Dellinger Invitational, and finished first at the NXN Northwest Regional championships in 17:27.1.
Efraimson has maintained a 3.88 GPA in the classroom. A member of DECA and the National Honor Society, Efraimson has volunteered locally as a youth soccer referee and has served meals to the needy at the Zion Lutheran Church's Lost and Found Cafe.
"In a state that has produced some extraordinary distance runners over the past decade, Alexa seems to be the best of them all," said Doug Binder, Editor-in-Chief of Dyestat.com. "She has tremendous physical ability and combines that with fierce competitive instincts. She came into the cross country season fresh off a bronze medal performance in the 1,500 meters at the World Youth Championships in the Ukraine and that result gave her a lot of confidence. After that, I think we all believed she was capable of doing anything she set her mind to."
Efraimson will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
"Without question, Alexa is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner based on her statistics on the course and the impact her accomplishments have had on Camas' success," said Gatorade Vice President, Global & Sports Marketing Andrea Fairchild. "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by USA TODAY High School Sports and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:
- Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
- Four-time gold medalist Allyson Felix
- WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
- Kansas City Royals Cy Young award-winner Zach Grienke
For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNERS OF THE YEAR
Camas High School/Camas, WA
Simi Valley High School/Simi Valley, CA
University Lake School/Hartland, WI
Cornwall Central/New Windsor, NY
Rochester/Rochester Hills, MI
High School Junior
High School Senior
University of Notre Dame
University of Washington
Mission College Prep/San Luis Obispo, CA
Nike Oregon Project
Duke University graduate
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