For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Ben Saarel
School: Park City (Utah)
Athletic achievement: He finished fourth at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past season with a time of 15:13. Saarel also won the Class 3A individual state championship in 14:56.7, leading the Miners to fourth place as a team. He won the Foot Locker West Regional championship in 15:28 and finished second at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional championships with a time of 14:52.
Academic excellence: Saarel has maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Exemplary character: Also a talented musician, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Park City Interact Club.
“Ben is an incredibly driven athlete,” said Park City coach Jeff Wyant. “He ran the fastest time ever by a Utah runner at Foot Locker, and I think he’s destined for even bigger things. We haven’t seen the best of him yet.”
THE FUTURE: Saarel has committed to Colorado.