From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Junior, Griswold (Iowa)
Greatness Present: When you set a world record at age 10, it’s not easy to live up to lofty expectations. But Topham is doing so just fine.
The Griswold junior, whose 5,000-meter time of 18:42.08 in 2007 still stands as a world record among 10-year-olds, defended her 2012 Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships 15-16 girls’ title with a victory in the 17-18 women’s division in 17:50.38 last month.
Topham also captured a third consecutive Class 1A individual state championship with a state-record time of 13:56.3 in November.
This past fall, the 5-foot-8 distance runner placed third in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships and seventh in the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships. She concluded her junior cross-country season with a 16th-place finish at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego earlier this month.
Greatness Past: The state’s 2011-12 Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Topham has won more than 30 age-group national titles in cross country and track, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
In addition to her three state cross-country championships, she has won five track and field state titles, ranging from 800 to 3,000 meters.
Greatness Future: Topham will be a senior next year.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year races aren’t over, and the National ROY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.