Gatorade ’12-13 Boys XC Nat’l Runner of the Year
Edward Cheserek of St. Benedicts Preparatory School (Newark, N.J.) was honored this week as the Gatorade National Boys 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 Cheserek was selected “from nearly 250,000 boys cross country runners nationwide.”
Cheserek was surprised with the news at school by three-time USA 12K Cross Country champion Dathan Ritzenhein, who earned Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
“When I received the award, it was a really significant moment for me, so it felt great to surprise Edward with the news and invite him into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports,” said Ritzenhein, the former American record-holder at 5,000 meters.
The 5-foot-8 senior won his second consecutive national title this past season at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, with a time of 14:59.
Cheserek also won the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championship in 15:21.8, and earned victories at the Essex County Championships, the Prep A state championships and the Eastern States race at the Manhattan Invitational.
The Illinois runner, who hasn’t decided yet where he will attend college, has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of a community soup kitchen.
“Edward has broken every record around, beating times set by guys who have been in the Olympics,” said St. Benedict’s coach Marty Hannon. “What he’s accomplished is amazing. It’s been like a dream come true. I hate to put a burden on kids, but the sky is really the limit for him.”