Legacy. Tradition. A who’s who of American sport. As the Gatorade Player of the Year program celebrates its fourth decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, fans can count many a household name on the roster of former award-winners. Over the past three decades, prep sports’ most esteemed honor boasts Super Bowl, World Series, NBA, WNBA, MLS Cup, NCAA and Olympic champions among more than 14,000 State Players of the Year and 280 National POYs across 12 sports. Let’s not forget the scores of program alumni who have gone on to capture league-MVP, All-Star and All-American recognition.
This month, Gatorade will announce this year’s National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. To get fans in the mood, we’re catching up with former Winners Molly Seidel, Anna Rohrer and Jordan Hasay.
Life is full of surprises.
For instance, the fact that the seventh (SEVENTH!) film in the long-running “Rocky” franchise is earning legitimate Oscar consideration, and Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the script for the first movie, is winning actual awards for playing a character he originated 40 years ago. Kind of surprising.
But former Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Molly Seidel winning another NCAA title? Well, maybe that’s not such a shock. Even though Seidel’s win in the 10,000-meter run at last spring’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon was seen as something of an upset (she became the first-ever individual national champion for the Irish in the event), nobody should bet against no one the Notre Dame senior’s continued success at this point.
The Gatorade trophy sitting on her mantle since 2012 dates to her prep running days at the University Lake School (Hartland, Wis.) tells you all you need to know about Seidel’s mettle. Seidel was never really threatened during her latest title-winning effort at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in November. She built a sizable lead over Boise State freshman (a six-time Gatorade State honoree as a prep) and native Alaskan Allie Ostrander, then never looked back, breaking the tape in 19:28.6.
Speaking of great Gatorade Runner of the Year winners, it’s no stunner that 2008-09 national honoree and Oregon Project standout Jordan Hasay is back from injury and seeking to qualify for July’s U.S. Olympic Trials in the 10,000 (she missed by 31 seconds in her first race back from rehab last month).
Anyhoo, don’t look now, but Seidel’s running resume for the Irish is rather formidable—with the spring track season still on tap. And naturally, Seidel wasn’t the only National Gatorade alumna competing for a national title this past cross country season. ND freshman and 2014-15 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Anna Rohrer shared spotlight podium alongside her accomplished teammate, finishing an impressive sixth overall at last fall’s NCAA XC championships.
Any chance we’ll see her someday join Seidel in the ranks of national champions? Wouldn’t be surprising.
To see the legacy for yourself, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year winner archive, where you can relive history and see which future stars won their first national recognition as high school athletes. To see the cream of the crop, visit the roster of Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year winners, showcasing Gatorade’s top male and female National Player of the Year honoree, selected annually from each POY class.