Reinhart Repeats as KY Gatorade XC Runner of the Year

CHICAGO (January 23, 2017) - In its 32nd year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Michaela Reinhart of Lexington Catholic High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Kentucky Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Reinhart is the first Gatorade Kentucky Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Lexington Catholic High 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 racecourse, distinguishes Reinhart as Kentucky's best high school girls cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January/February, Reinhart joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).

The state's returning Gatorade Runner of the Year, the 5-foot-4 senior won her second-straight Class AA state meet this past season with a time of 17:57.18, breaking the tape 1:08.7 ahead of her next-closest competitor and leading the Knights to a third-place finish as a team. Reinhart, who won six of eight races this fall, also placed 20th at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 18:09.1.

The president of the Lexington Catholic High student council, Reinhart served as part of a mission trip on behalf of her church and has volunteered locally as a youth track and field coach. "Michaela is absolutely amazing," said Mark Brummett, head coach of Rockcastle County High. "She has always been a consistent competitor and always seems to give it her very best. The hard work she puts in on a daily basis is evident every time we compete against her."

Reinhart has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country on scholarship at Duke University this fall.

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, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Two-time winner Reinhart joins Gatorade Kentucky Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Gabriella Karas (2014-15, Martha Layne Collins High School), Whitney O'Bryan (2013-14, Daviess County High School), Bailey Davis (2012-13, Assumption High School), Cassidy Hale (2011-12, duPont Manual High School), Emma Brink (2010-11, 2009-10 & 2007-08, Sacred Heart Academy), and Kaitlin Snapp (2008-09, Danville High School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Reinhart will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants - one for each sport - will be announced throughout the year.

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