For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Allie Buchalski
School: Johns Creek (Ga.)
Athletic achievement: She raced to the Class AAAAAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:46.23, leading the Gladiators to eighth place. Also the Atlanta Track Club’s Ray Buckley Award winner as Georgia’s Female Runner of the Year, Buchalski won six regular-season meets by an average of 17.4 seconds, including the Atlanta Classic and Coach Wood Invitational. She won the Class AAAA individual state title as a junior and the Class AAA individual state championship as a freshman.
Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Buchalski has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Venture Atlanta, she has volunteered locally on behalf of Girl Scouts of America and Unsung Heroes, a service group she founded in order to provide lunches to her school’s custodial staff on special occasions. She has also donated her time as a camp counselor.
“Allie is every coach’s dream athlete,” said Johns Creek head coach Danny Brock. “She is a model of character, determination and perseverance. She is the hardest worker I have ever coached, and she is the only state champion I have coached. She is a student of cross country, as she tries to learn every step of a course before she competes. Every Sunday, she and her father scout out the course, and she puts a name to every section of the course. Then, every night before the race she visualizes how she is going to race.”
THE FUTURE: Buchalski has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Furman University beginning this fall.