For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Sarah Baxter
School: Simi Valley (Calif.)
Athletic achievement: She raced to her second consecutive Nike Cross Nationals championship this past season with a time of 19:17. The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Baxter was unbeaten on the season and captured the Division 1 state championship in a course record 16:40. She also broke course records at the Mt. SAC Invitational, the Woodbridge Invitational, the Marmonte League Championships and the Southern Section Championships.
Academic excellence: Baxter has maintained a 3.15 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally at a charity thrift store and on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary.
"Sarah Baxter's season was just for the ages," said Steve Underwood, DyeStat editor for Runnerspace.com. "Many of the greatest prep harriers of all time have been Californians -- like Julia Stamps, Amber Trotter, Jordan Hasay and more -- and you can argue now that Sarah tops them all. You can't get much better in the Golden State than setting course records at Mt. SAC and Woodward Park (state meet). And on a day where times went out the window, Sarah defended her NXN title against the best field of the season."
THE FUTURE: Baxter will begin her senior year of high school this fall.