Champlain Valley Union sophomore student athlete Alice Larson received a post-season honor this week when she was named the 2018-19 Gatorade Vermont Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
In its 34 years of recognizing nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade has chosen a CVU runner for the distinction only two other times.
The award is based on outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character both on and off the racecourse, the company said in its announcement Monday.
The award makes Larson a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February.
The 5-foot-4 sophomore raced to the Division 1 state championship this past season with a time of 19:29.3, leading the Redhawks to the state title as a team.
Larson also won the Queensbury Invitational, the Essex Invitational and the Ed Springstead Shaker Invitational. She took fifth at the New England Cross Country Championships, eighth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships and ninth at the prestigious Manhattan Invitational.
She has maintained a 3.31 grade point average and she volunteers with a youth summer camp. Larson lives in Georgia, Vt.
“Last season was a huge learning experience for Alice, and she really took a huge step forward this year,” said CVU cross country Coach Scott Bliss. “She was clearly the best girl in the state all year, and continued to improve and grow as the season went on.”
The Gatorade program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each state with high school football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, and track and field programs. Selections are made by a committee including sport-specific experts and sports journalists.
Other girls cross country runners of the year from Vermont have been CVU’s Sophia Gorman (2015-16) and Autumn Eastman (2013-14), and three-time winner Rena Schwartz (2017-18, 2016-17 and 2014-15) from Green Mountain Valley School.
The honor comes with a $1,000 grant that Larson may award to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also may compete in an essay contest for one of a dozen $10,000 grants to pass along to the organization of her choice.
More information on the program is online at Gatorade.com/POY.