For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Enrique Soto
School: Lakeside (Sibley, La.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to a runner-up finish at the Class 2A state meet this past season with a time of 15:22.23, leading the Warriors to fifth place as a team. Soto finished 38th at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 15:36 and captured 24th at the Nike Cross Nationals South Regional championships in 16:03.7. He finished unbeaten against Louisiana competition during the regular season. In addition to winning the young men’s division at USA Track & Field’s 2011 National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships, he raced to the 2011 Class 2A individual state championship as a junior and took second at the 2010 Class 2A state meet as a sophomore.
Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Soto has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America, he has participated in the Louisiana State Literary Rally. He has also volunteered on behalf of his church community and as a youth athletic instructor.
“Enrique has had some amazing accomplishments,” said Lakeside head coach Dan Grantham. “He has put himself in position to receive an athletic scholarship, and he has done this by dedication, work ethic, and by having unique outstanding character. For our situation, a rural public school in north Louisiana, it’s a great story.”
THE FUTURE: Soto remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.