For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jake Leingang
School: Bismarck (N.D.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to a third consecutive Class A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:09.3, leading the Demons to an eighth straight state title as a team. The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Leingang captured first place at both the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships in 14:56 and the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships in 15:16.04. Leingang took third at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 15:07 and finished 59th at the Nike Cross Nationals Final in 18:14.
Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Leingang has maintained a 3.61 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: An active member of his church’s youth group, he has volunteered locally at a soup kitchen and retirement home, in addition to donating his time as a youth running instructor.
“His ability to focus and compete with relentless pursuit distinguished him from the competition,” said Bismarck head coach Darrell Anderson. “He’s the greatest distance runner in the history of Bismarck High, and he has earned a reputation nationally as one of the country’s best distance runners.”
THE FUTURE: Leingang has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Oregon beginning this fall.