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THE WINNER: Michael Karls
School: Festus (Mo.)
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class 3 individual state championships with a time of 15:23.80 this past season, leading the Tigers to the state title as a team. A two-time First Team All-Metro selection as named by the St. Louis Track Club, Karls took 14th at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships in 15:25.50. He also clocked a 15:04.80 at the Chile Pepper Festival, which ranked as the state’s fastest 5K of the season.
Academic excellence: Karls has maintained a 4.30 weighted GPA and ranks No. 1 in his graduating class.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and his school’s student council as well as its assembly and prom committees, he has volunteered locally as a youth running instructor, at a food pantry, as part of charity initiatives to benefit needy children and on behalf of community cleanup efforts.
“His work ethic is top-of-the-line, and all of his miles of training have obviously paid off for him,” said Cory Dicus, head coach of rival North County High. “When you watch him race, you can see his commitment to himself and his teammates to dig deep and find a way to succeed. His drive is clear and unquestionable, and he capitalizes on his potential through hard work. He is an excellent representation of Missouri cross country.”
THE FUTURE: Karls will run for Navy.