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 selection process, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Junior distance runner, Loudoun Valley (Purcellville, Va.)
Greatness Present: It’s almost as if Andrew Hunter was born to run.
As an infant, Hunter attended practices with his parents, Marc and Joan, who served as coaches at Reston (Va.) South Lakes High, where a freshman by the name of Alan Webb was already making a name for himself. Webb, of course, went on to capture 2000-01 Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors and set an American record in the mile (3:46.91) that still stands almost a decade later.
“There’s no doubt, beside my parents, Alan is the person I’ve looked up to the most in running,” Andrew Hunter told DyeStat.com.
You probably could have guessed Marc and Joan Hunter now coach at Loudoun Valley, where they have another prep All-American in their midst. Their son Andrew captured fourth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 15:14. The 6-foot junior’s success followed a victory at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 14:36.
Hunter also won a second consecutive Group AAA individual state title with a course-record time of 14:41 this past season, joining none other than both his parents as multi-time state champions. Marc won Ohio’s 1973 Class AAA individual state cross country championship in addition to a pair of mile championships for Brunswick High. Four year’s later, Andrew’s dad finished fourth at the 1977 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at Cleveland State University, also qualifying for the 1980 Olympic Trials in both the 5K and 10K. Likewise, Joan (née Humphries) captured back-to-back 800-meter state track titles in Virginia for Vienna James Madison High in 1980-81.
Greatness Past: With a year remaining in his high school career, Andrew Hunter already has both of his parents beat, collecting Group 3A individual state championships at 1,600 and 3,200 meters on the oval this past spring. His winning 3,000-meter time of 8:16.31 at the 2013 Penn Relays also set a national prep sophomore record.
Greatness Future: Hunter remains undecided upon a collegiate destination, although he should have his pick of the nation’s elite programs when it comes down to making a choice later this year.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year races aren’t over, and the National ROY race isn’t far behind. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.