Earlier today, high school junior Katelyn Tuohy was named the National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, an annual award presented by Gatorade. Tuohy, who was the recipient of this same award last year, has also won the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award for 2017-18 and the Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year award for 2017-18, amounting to four Runner of the Year awards in total.
Gatorade has selected athletes for these awards each year since 1985 across a handful of athletic programs. The awards are currently distributed to athletes representing 12 sports (one girl and one boy per sport), and though athletic achievement drives the nominations, academic success and exceptional character are also required to win. Those who do earn the chance to pick a youth sports program (local or national) that will receive a $1,000 grant and can boost that grant money by an extra $10,000 by submitting an essay advocating for their chosen program.
Tuohy is in good company with her win, with past cross-country winners including Jordan Hasay and Molly Seidel and former track and field recipients including Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross. “These are women who have accomplished so much,” Tuohy told Women’s Running shortly after receiving this year’s award. “I don’t feel any pressure; it’s more a motivator and really an honor to be on the same list as them. It motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing and follow in their footsteps.”
Tuohy, who runs for North Rockland High School in Thiells, N.Y., began turning heads in the running world in 2016, most recently securing her second consecutive win at the Nike Cross Nationals in December 2018 and beating the course record she’d set in 2017 in the process. When she’s not racing, Tuohy keeps an A average in school and volunteers at local running and soccer programs, as well as at her local library. With senior year still ahead of her, there’s plenty of time for Tuohy to continue on her record-setting path before stepping onto the collegiate running stage—though Tuohy said she doesn’t have specific goals in mind for her upcoming track season. “I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m just looking forward to running some fast times and helping my teammates run some fast times in relays,” Tuohy said. “I don’t really have any big goals that I’m working toward—I just want to keep running fast, keep improving.”
Before this year’s track season begins, Tuohy will have the opportunity to return to the New York Road Runners Millrose Games this weekend, where she raced in the girls high school mile last year and surprised many by finishing in fourth place. Right off the heels of her Runner of the Year award, Tuohy seemed calm and confident about this year’s mile at Millrose. “It’s just any other race; I prepare the same way,” Tuohy said. “I’m looking forward to getting down there on one of my favorite tracks and running fast.”
The Millrose Games and the track season that follows may be fast approaching, but Tuohy’s race record suggests that she’ll soon have even bigger races on her radar—including one that’s already lurking at the back of her mind. “If I have a goal it would be qualifying for the Olympic Trials next year,” she said.
Check back with Women’s Running next week for a breakdown of the biggest moments at this year’s Millrose Games. For more information about Gatorade’s Player of the Year awards, visit the official website.