For the second year in a row, record-setting high school runner Katelyn Tuohy has been named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Tuohy, a junior (Grade 11 student) at North Rockland High School in Thiells, N.Y., received the award at a small ceremony for family and friends in the school library this morning.
This is Tuohy’s fourth national award from the Gatorade Player of the Year program (she was last year’s Track & Field winner and overall Female Athlete of the Year).
The young athlete has racked up a slew of accomplishments over the past year, most recently breaking the American record in the 3,000m previously held by Mary Cain. Tuohy won her second consecutive Nike Cross Nationals championship this past season, breaking her own course record with a 16:37.8 finish.
Tuohy also won the Class A individual state championship in 17:02.1 and finished first at the NXN New York Regional championships in 17:14. She has not lost a 5K outdoors since 2016. She is also an active volunteer in her community and an A student.
We had the opportunity to speak to her by phone after the award ceremony this morning.
CR: What’s your favourite pre-race meal?
KT: It’s different every time. I’m not superstitious where I have to eat the same thing, or anything. If the race is early in the morning, I might have an apple… if it’s in the afternoon, a sandwich or a bagel.
CR: Who are your running idols?
CR: Are you planning to go pro right out of high school or apply to college?
Definitely college. I’m putting my education first, and if I can get a scholarship for running… I think that’s a better decision than to go pro.
CR: What are your biggest strengths as a runner?
KT: I think how strong I am [when] racing, like my ability to click off even splits when racing, and my mental toughness.
CR: Congratulations again on your award, Katelyn.
KT: Thank you.
Tuohy has expressed an interest in competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In December she told Runnerspace that although she loves the 1,500m, she feels her best shot is the 5,000m. She confirmed that that’s still her plan, looking ahead towards the trials, most likely in August 2020. “The 5K is probably the event I’d be the best in, based on how I run,” Tuohy says. “My stride is definitely meant more for a 5K than a 1,500m. My PB in the 5K is closer to the standard and pro times than my PB in the 1,500m.” (In 2016, the Olympic qualifying standard for the 5,000m was 15:25:00, but the standard for the trials would be lower. Tuohy’s indoor PB is 15:37, currently the American record.)
The Gatorade Player of the Year award has been presented every year since 1985, recognizing the most elite high school student-athletes in the US’s 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s awarded in 12 sports, including boys’ and girls’ cross country and boys’ and girls’ track and field. It awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. Student-athletes are selected for outstanding athletic excellence as well as academic achievement and character.
Tuohy will race the indoor high school mile at the Millrose Games at the Armory track in New York City on Saturday.