For the past 30 years, Gatorade has honored the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character with the Gatorade Player of the Year award. On July 14, the 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year from the 2014-15 season will gather in Hollywood, where the 13th annual GatoradeHigh School Athlete of the Year award will be presented to the best overall male and female athlete. Abby Wambach, J.J. Watt, Draymond Green and other star athletes are expected to be on hand.
In the days leading to the presentation, USA TODAY High School Sports will profile each of the 12 candidates — six boys and six girls.
Mishawaka High (Mishawaka, Ind.) senior Anna Rohrer is the best flute soloist in the state, but her mastery of a wind instrument didn’t make the teen any less breathless when U.S. Olympian Molly Huddle crashed band rehearsal in January. The music stopped just as Rohrer realized that Huddle was in town to hand her the 2014-15 Gatorade National Runner of the Year award.
“I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot recently,” said Rohrer, who committed to Notre Dame in February. “Receiving this trophy kind of makes it more realistic that I might be competing for a spot in the Olympics someday. It’s incredibly exciting, and even more exciting to see what comes.”
The 5-foot-6 senior raced to her second career national title at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past season, breaking the tape in 17:13. After missing her junior season due to injury, Rohrer went undefeated in 2014, winning the individual state championship in a meet-record 17:08.8 and the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships in 16:57.
Rohrer has maintained a weighted 4.44 GPA in the classroom. A member of the South Bend/Mishawaka Youth Leadership Council as well as the City of Mishawaka Mayor’s Youth Council, she won a gold medal for her flute solo at the Indiana State School Music Association’s statewide Solo Contest. Also an active member of the St. Monica Church Antioch Youth Group as well as 4-H, Rohrer has served as editor of her school newspaper and as a peer mentor for drug-awareness outreach in association with DARE. She plays 1st chair flute and piccolo with four different band ensembles in association with Mishawaka High’s music program.
“Rohrer was able to regain her national-championship form of 2012 and even surpass it, which is astonishing,” said DyeStat.com Editor-in-Chief Doug Binder. “After winning the Foot Locker title as a sophomore, multiple injuries removed her from the cross country radar. Her response to that adversity and her tenacious desire to be great are the biggest reasons why she was able to come back so strong to win a second Foot Locker title.”
The state’s Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year as a sophomore, Rohrer battled bone breaks and related injury complications in her feet for three years, persisting into the start of the 2014 campaign. Bouncing back to become one of six two-time national champions in prep history, she also swept her Sectional, Regional and Semi-State championships, in addition to breaking the tape at the Mid-East Cross Country Championships. Earlier this month, she took silver as a member of the U.S. Junior Team at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge in Scotland. She also won the 5,000-meter national title at New Balance Nationals Outdoor last spring.