Gatorade ’12-13 Girls XC Nat’l Runner of the Year

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Sarah Baxter from Simi Valley (Calif.) was honored earlier this week as the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

This year marks the 28th that Gatorade has recognized top high school athletes with the National and State Athletes of the Year program.  According to the company, the award signifies “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse” and Baxter was selected “from more than 212,000 girls cross country runners nationwide.”

Gatorade National POYBaxter was surprised with the news at school by Allyson Felix, who earned Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year and Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year honors in 2003.

“When I received the award, it was a really significant moment for me, so it felt great to surprise Sarah with the news and invite her into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports,” said Felix, a three-time Summer Games athlete.

Baxter is now a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 5-foot-6 junior raced to her second consecutive Nike Cross Nationals championship this past season with a time of 19:17. The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Baxter was unbeaten on the season and captured the Division 1 state championship in a course record 16:40. She also broke course records at the Mt. SAC Invitational, the Woodbridge Invitational, the Marmonte League Championships and the Southern Section Championships.

Baxter has maintained a 3.15 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally at a charity thrift store and on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary.

“Sarah Baxter’s season was just for the ages,” said Steve Underwood, DyeStat.com editor for Runnerspace.com. “Many of the greatest prep harriers of all time have been Californians—like Julia Stamps, Amber Trotter, Jordan Hasay and more—and you can argue now that Sarah tops them all. You can’t get much better in the Golden State than setting course records at
ßßMt. SAC and Woodward Park (state meet). And on a day where times went out the window, Sarah defended her NXN title against the best field of the season.”

Baxter will begin her senior year of high school this fall.

 

Updated: February 1, 2013

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