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THE WINNER: Tessa Barrett
School: Abington Heights (Clarks Summit, Pa.)
Position: Distance runner
Athletic achievement: She raced to the national title at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past season, breaking the tape with a time of 17:16. Barrett also won the Class AAA individual state championship with a course-record time of 17:30 and was first at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 17:32.2.
Academic excellence: A home-schooled student, Barrett has maintained a 3.97 GPA as certified by the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of a playground rebuilding project and the St. Joseph’s Center women’s outreach program. She has also donated her time raising funds to benefit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Tessa has faced a lot of adversity in her career, but rather than discourage her or cause her to give up hope, it has done the opposite,” said Abington Heights coach Rob Ahrens. “There is a drive in her that far exceeds that of her competitors.”
THE FUTURE: Barrett has verbally committed to Penn State.