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THE WINNER: D.J. Principe
School: La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)
Weight: 121 pounds
Athletic achievement: He raced to the state’s all-class state championship with a time of 15:37.17 this past season, leading the Rams to the state title as a team. A two-time First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Track Coaches Association, Principe also broke the tape at the Class A championships in 15:50.98. He finished sixth at the New England Cross Country Championships in 15:56, eighth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 16:17.70 and 75th at the NXN Final, clocking a 16:20.
Academic excellence: Principe has maintained a 4.55 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering at multiple area road races, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, he has participated in food drives for the needy on behalf of his church and as a mentor to prospective La Salle students.
“An athlete such as a D.J. is very rare for a coach to encounter, and there is no doubt that his accomplishments thus far are only the beginning,” said La Salle Academy head coach Kenneth Skelly. “Before D.J. ever put on the maroon and white uniform of La Salle Academy, he was already recognized as one of the best talents at the middle school level statewide, regionally and nationally. What impressed me most about him are not only his running abilities, but how well a high school athlete can carry himself in a mature and professional manner.”
THE FUTURE: Principe will be a junior this fall.