For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jack Keelan
School: St. Ignatius Prep (Chicago, Ill.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 14:05. Keelan also won the Niles West Sectional, the Chicago Catholic Championships, the Pat Savage Invitational, the Connelly-Polka Invitational, the First to the Finish Invitational and the ICOPS Invitational. He finished fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships and was 26th nationally at the NXN Final.
Academic excellence: Keelan has maintained a 3.86 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A mentor in his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of a church soup kitchen and a child-care center.
“Jack faced severe disappointment as a junior when he failed to qualify for the state championships,” said St. Ignatius coach Edward Ernst. “He showed tremendous character and grit overcoming that disappointment, and was a dominant runner this year. He’s been a leader for his teammates, and we’ll be a better team next year because of his example and the high bar that he has set.”
THE FUTURE: Keelan remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.