For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Simon Belete
School: Blue Springs (Mo.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class 4 individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:48.16, leading the Wildcats to second place as a team. Also the Runner of the Year as named by The Examiner, MoMileSplit.com and the Missouri Track & Cross Country Coaches Association, he captured 15th at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships in 15:55.2 and 41st at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships in 15:43.
Academic excellence: Also track standout, Belete has maintained a 4.23 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has volunteered on behalf of his church community and as part of his school’s HiSTEP program for tutoring elementary school students.
“For the four years he has been a part of the cross country team, he has made such a large impact on the team,” said Blue Springs head coach Frank Gallick. “His role as the team leader is similar to what many would say about a quarterback being the coach on the field or the point guard being the coach on the court. Even though he might shy away from the recognition he gets, I think it is well-deserved for everything he has accomplished.”
THE FUTURE: Belete remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Visit the Gatorade Player of the Year homepage by clicking here.