For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Courtney Ackerman
School: New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.)
Athletic achievement: She raced to sixth place nationally with a time of 19:43 at the Nike Cross Nationals Final this past season. Ackerman also finished 17th in 18:02 at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, and was fifth at the both the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships and the NXN Midwest Regional championships. She earned victories at the First to the Finish Invitational, the Libertyville Invitational, the Wheaton North Classic and the Central Suburban League Championships, and also finished third at the Class 3A state meet, in 16:27.
Academic excellence: Ackerman has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of her church youth group, she has volunteered on behalf of multiple service missions to assist underprivileged communities.
“Courtney emerged as perhaps the most talented runner in school history during her freshman year,” said New Trier head coach John Burnside. “She’s almost peerless in her dedication to work, competition and every other aspect of athletics, but to her, personal achievement has always taken a backseat to team success.”
THE FUTURE: Ackerman has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Illinois beginning this fall.