For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Andrew Gardner
School: Mead (Spokane, Wash.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class 4A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:02.3. Gardner was fifth at the Foot Locker West Regional championships and finished 11th nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. He also earned victories at the Concordia Adidas Classic, the Highlander Invitational, the Mead Invitational, the Mountain West Classic and the Eastern Washington Regional Championships.
Academic excellence: Gardner has maintained a 3.40 GPA.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally feeding the homeless and shoveling snow for the elderly. He has also raised funds to benefit poor villages in Africa.
“In 27 years as a high school cross country coach, I’ve never been associated with a finer student-athlete,” said Mead coach Steve Kiesel. “He goes 110 percent at any and all endeavors he pursues. He is every parent, teacher and coach’s dream.”
THE FUTURE: Gardner will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy this fall, where he will compete in cross country and track and field.