WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High School sophomore Hannah DeBalsi has been recognized as the 2013-14 Gatorade Connecticut Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, DeBalsi joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter.
DeBalsi raced to second place nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past season with a time of 17:26.
She also won the State Open championship by breaking the tape in 17:44 and captured the Class LL state title with a course-record 17:41.
Additionally, she won the New England Cross Country Championships in a course-record time of 17:15.8 and placed third at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse.
DeBalsi has maintained a 4.14 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Fairfield Public Library and various road races.
“Hannah’s determination, energy and passion are contagious,” said Staples High head coach Amanda Parrish in a release. “Although she’s only a sophomore, I frequently find myself counting on her as a leader, not just in the results, but at practice on a daily basis.”