In its 25th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Nathan Lewis of Cold Springs High School as its 2009-10 Gatorade Alabama Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Lewis is the first Gatorade Alabama Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Cold Springs 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 Lewis as Alabama’s best high school boys cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Lewis joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00 & 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 6-foot-1 senior distance runner won a third consecutive Class 1A/2A state meet this past season with a time of 16:25.57, leading the Eagles to second place as a team. A four-time All-State qualifier, Lewis finished 61st at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 15:48. He also won the Dew It On The Trails Invitational in addition to placing third at both the Chickasaw Trails Invitational and the Jesse Owens Classic this past fall. Lewis was seventh at the 2006 Class 1A/2A state meet Lewis has maintained a 4.30 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s student government and science club, he has volunteered on behalf of the National Honor Society and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as well as drug-use awareness and prevention initiatives. Lewis has also donated his time as a peer tutor and as a mentor to elementary school “It has been a joy and privilege to coach and watch Nathan grow and work as he has to become the best,” said Cold Springs Head Coach Clay Campbell. “There has never been a doubt in my mind that he would do exactly what he has done. Not only is he a great runner, but a truly great person and role model. I have been blessed to have been able to know and work with such a fine young man. I know he is not through and has a great career ahead of him at the next level.”
Lewis remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in Lewis joins Gatorade Alabama Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year Patrick McGregor (2008-09 & 2007-08, Hoover) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.