For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Malia Gonzales
School: Sue Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.)
Athletic achievement: She raced to the Class 5A individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:59.4, leading the Storm to second place as a team. Gonzales also won the Metro Championships, the Socorro Invitational, the Albuquerque Academy Invitational, the Los Alamos Invitational and the District 1 Championships.
Academic excellence: Gonzales has maintained a 3.48 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of her school’s Key Club and also a peer tutor, she has volunteered locally assisting children with special needs.
“Malia was able to avoid injury this year and had a season to remember,” said Sue Cleveland head coach Kenny Henry. “Her performances have been invaluable to our team’s success, but I believe her attitude and behavior have been even more valuable, because she has created a model that hopefully others will follow.”
THE FUTURE: Gonzales remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.