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: Nevada Mareno
School: Leesville Road (Raleigh, N.C.)
Position: Distance Runner
Athletic achievement: The distance runner finished third at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships with a time of 17:17.60 this past season. Mareno also placed second at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 17:05. The Class 4A individual state champion, breaking the tape in 17:46.50, she led the Pride to third place as a team. Mareno was unbeaten against North Carolina competition in 2015 and her winning time of 16:36.18 at the CAP 8 Conference Championship ranked as the state’s fastest 5K among prep competitors this past fall.
Academic excellence: Mareno has maintained a 5.00 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth track and field instructor, she has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics.
“She was never satisfied with anything but her best effort, no matter how large the margin of victory,” said Leesville Road head coach Karen Hawkins. “She also began to see that her performances were an opportunity to show who she is and to inspire those around her to reach higher and see what is possible. Far beyond her innate talent, her season is a shining example of the opportunities that sustained passion, belief and hard work can make possible.”
THE FUTURE: Mareno will begin her senior year of high school this fall.