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: Kate Mattox
School: Starkville (Miss.)
Position: Distance Runner
Athletic achievement: The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Mattox won a third consecutive Class 6A individual state championship with a time of 18:40.50 this past season, leading the Yellow Jackets to third place as a team. The distance talent placed 32nd at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 18:25. Unbeaten against Mississippi prep competition in 2015, her winning time of 17:59.54 at the Pontotoc Invitational was the state’s fastest 5K clocking among prep competitors this past fall.
Academic excellence: Mattox has maintained a 4.21 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of her school’s student government and Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, she has volunteered on behalf of her church’s youth group, as a tutor for students at Starkville’s Sudduth Elementary School and at Camp Jigsaw, a summer retreat for children on the autism spectrum.
“She once again proved to be the best girl in the state,” said Allen Marett, head coach at rival Clinton High. “Kate showed tremendous character this year in fighting through an illness. We ran against Starkville in the first meet that she returned. I told my best runner that this would be her race to beat Kate. Well, Kate still beat her by over a minute. She is just tough.”
THE FUTURE: Mattox will begin her senior year of high school this fall.