The Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runners 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 Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Katie Rainsberger
School: Air Academy (USAFA, Colo.)
Position: Distance Runner
Athletic achievement: The distance runner raced to the national title at the Nike Cross Nationals Final this past season, breaking the tape in 16:56.8. The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Rainsberger was unbeaten against all distance competition in 2015. She won the Class 4A individual state championship with a course-record time of 17:39, leading the Kadets to the state title as a team. Rainsberger also won the NXN Southwest Regional championship in 17:07.
Academic excellence: Rainsberger has maintained a weighted 4.49 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and sports editor of her school newspaper, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the USATF as well as charity road races. The recipient of the Sportswomen of Colorado 2015 High School Cross Country Award, Rainsberger has also been honored as a student-athlete by Rotary Club International.
“Despite Katie’s remarkable talent, she’s humble and puts her team before herself,” said Air Academy coach Steve Rischling. “She is a once-in-a-career runner, but she’s still a better person than she is a runner.”
THE FUTURE: Rainsberger has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on an athletic scholarship at the University of Oregon beginning this fall.