WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High School junior Hannah DeBalsi was named Friday as the Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for Connecticut for the second year in a row.
DeBalsi finished fifth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country championships in December. She won the State Open championship with a time of 17:59 and captured the Class LL state title in 18:14. She also won the New England Cross Country Championships with a time of 17:58 and was runner-up at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships.
DeBalsi has maintained a 4.13 GPA in the classroom and has volunteered locally on behalf of the Pequot Library and charity road races.
“Hannah is motivated not just to win meets, but to push herself beyond what she’s accomplished before,” said Staples High head coach Amanda Morgan. “She is the kind of athlete who would prefer to lose a close race and set a new personal record than to win a meet easily with a sub-par time.”
Heather Stephens of Ridgefield (2007-08) and Moira Kenny of Immaculate in Danbury (2008-09) are among the past award winners.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field; the program awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
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