For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Thomas Howell
School: Niceville (Fla.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:19.6. Howell also won the District 1 Championships, the Region 1 Championships, the Gulf Coast Stampede and the Pace Patriot Invitational.
Academic excellence: Howell has maintained a 3.94 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has volunteered locally on behalf of church service-mission retreats.
“Thomas is not only our most accomplished runner, but he is also our hardest working and most team-spirited,” said Niceville coach Tom Durrenberger. “After completing his workouts, he always turns back around and encourages his teammates to work harder.”
THE FUTURE: Howell will begin his senior year of high school this fall.