For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Catarina Rocha
School: Peabody (Mass.)
Athletic achievement: She captured first place at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships this past season with a time of 17:49.5. Rocha qualified for the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where she finished in second place, crossing the line in 17:29. Also the 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, she won her second straight Division I individual championship with a time of 18:06.12, leading the Tanners to a state title as a team.
Academic excellence: Rocha has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and an officer in her school’s student council, she has volunteered locally as a basketball coach for children with special needs.
“Catarina Rocha is an exceptional runner,” said Lisa Owen, head coach at Acton-Boxborough (Acton, Mass.). “She is the best I have seen in the state in a long time. No one else comes close.”
THE FUTURE: Rocha has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Providence College beginning this fall.