The Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Tanner Ealum
School: Anchorage Christian School (Anchorage, Alaska)
Athletic achievement: The sprinter won three individual championships at the Class 1A-2A-3A state meet this past season, leading the Lions to the state title as a team. Ealum took first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.22 seconds, captured the 200-meter dash in 24.76 and broke the tape in the 400-meter dash in 55.56. She also anchored the winning 4×400-meter relay squad (4:12.44). Her winning times of 24.73 in the 200 and 54.86 in the 400 at the 2015 Class 1A-2A-3A state meet as a junior both set state records.
Academic excellence: Ealum has maintained a 4.00 GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth running instructor and as part of community road races, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church, the Special Olympics and Anchorage’s Downtown Soup Kitchen. Ealum has also completed a service-mission trip to Missouri’s Camp Barnabas for children with special needs and chronic illnesses.
“Not only is she an outstanding athlete, she is kind and gracious toward her teammates and her competitors,” said Tara Edwards, head coach at rival Grace Christian. “She works incredibly hard during the offseason, even to the point of not playing basketball her senior year so she could be ready for the track season. She has been respectful and sweet in every interaction I have had with her, as our teams have shared a practice facility and have been at many of the same events. Tanner is exemplary in her character, her interaction with peers and adults, and is a top-notch athlete.”
THE FUTURE: Ealum has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., this fall.