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: Judy Pendergast
School: Naperville North (Naperville, Ill.)
Position: Distance Runner
Athletic achievement: The distance runner raced to the Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a meet-record time of 15:53.8, leading the Huskies to second place as a team. Pendergast finished fourth nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 17:20 and took eighth at the Nike Cross Nationals Final. She also won the NXN Midwest Regional championships with a course-record time of 17:00.6 and was runner-up at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships.
Academic excellence: Pendergast has maintained a 4.13 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of her school’s student government, she has volunteered locally as a member of the faith-based Young Life ministry and the National Honor Society.
“Judy is the fastest high school girl in state cross country history, and she’s also a tremendous kid,” said Naperville North coach Dan Iverson. “When she broke the all-time record at state, her first reaction was to be sad with her teammates because we didn’t win as a team.”
THE FUTURE: Pendergast will attend Harvard University this fall, where she will compete in cross country and track and field.