The Gatorade State Boys 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 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Seth Hirsch
School: Millard West (Omaha, Neb.)
Position: Distance Runner
Weight: 100 pounds
Athletic achievement: He raced to the Class A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:29.3, leading the Wildcats to a state title as a team. A 2015 Nebraska Coaches Association Boys Cross Country Class A Super-State selection, Hirsch took third at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships, crossing the line in 15:05.3. He went on to compete at the NXN Final, where he finished ninth in 15:18.3. He also took sixth at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships (15:11.3), qualifying for the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where he finished ninth in 15:27. Hirsch is one of only six boys prep runners in the country to compete at both the NXN Final and the FLCCC and earned All-American honors in both races.
Academic excellence: Hirsch has maintained a 4.11 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of USA Cycling as part of the Jim Johnston Memorial Ride in addition to donating his time as a youth track & field coach.
“Seth Hirsch was as dominant of a runner as I’ve seen in my time coaching cross country in the state of Nebraska,” said Joe Pilakowski, head coach at Papillion La Vista High. “He was head and shoulders above any other runner this year. He may be small in stature, but his hard work and dedication to running makes him a giant. He is among the best runners we’ve seen in a long time.”
THE FUTURE: Hirsch will begin his senior year of high school this fall.