In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland High School in Thiells, N.Y. is the 2019-20 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Truly an incredible feat, Tuohy is now the winningest Gatorade Player of the Year of all time, racking up a record-breaking five national awards (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, 2017-18 Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year and 2018 Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year). Tuohy won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year winners who have combined for seven National Championships and five bronze medals.
Tuohy was “surprised” with the award in front of teammates, coaches, friends and family at her school.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Tuohy as the nation’s best high school girls cross country runner. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Tuohy from nearly half a million high school girls cross country runners nationwide.
Competition for the national award is fierce. Tuohy topped the list of 51 state winners in girls cross country who have an incredible list of accomplishments, including 14 All-America, 7 multi-sport standouts, 24 with a GPA of 4.0 or higher and over 35 girls volunteering with at least two organizations.
Tuohy is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony after the ESPY Awards in July.
“Katelyn Tuohy has risen to become the gold standard during what has become the golden age of female distance running,” says Rich Gonzalez, Nike Cross Nationals Meet Director. “She’s the undisputed queen of cross country, and her perfect three-year results along with a long list of course records is beyond compare. At a time when our sport has been flooded with record participation numbers and corresponding historic levels of achievement, she has risen from the crowd to become the best ever. Her high character, class and charisma have inspired legions of fans, opponents and future champions.”
The 5-foot-4 senior raced to her third consecutive Nike Cross Nationals championship this past season, breaking the tape with a time of 17:18.4. The 2018 and 2019 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Tuohy also won the Class A individual state championship in 15:36.5 and finished first at the NXR New York Regional championships in 17:06.6. Unbeaten against high school competition at 5K for the third straight season, she also earned victories at the Section 1 championships, the Great American Cross Country Festival, the Manhattan Invitational and the New York Federation championships.
Tuohy has volunteered locally on behalf of youth soccer and running programs, in addition to donating her time to the Rose Memorial Library. This past summer, Katelyn was a daily participant—and a huge draw— at the Rockland County Track & Field Clinic for ages 4-13. She was present every day of the clinic and would run with kids, encourage them in all their events, and take pictures/sign autographs. “Katelyn has impressed me so much with the maturity she has shown,” said North Rockland coach Brian Diglio. “It’s very easy for an elite athlete to focus mostly on her own performance, but for Katelyn, priority number one has been helping her teammates race to the best of their ability.”
Tuohy has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in cross country and track and field on scholarship at North Carolina State University this fall.
“To determine Gatorade Player of the Year award winners, we look for student-athletes that are exceptional in their sport and who also value academics and community service,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “We chose Katelyn Tuohy as this year’s award winner because she embodies everything we look for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Tuohy has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track and field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.