Gatorade® National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year:

Megan Goethals

Michigan standout named nation’s top high school performer



DETROIT (February 3, 2010) – In its 25th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Megan Goethals of Rochester High School (Rochester Hills, Mich.) as its 2009-10 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. 


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 Goethals as the nation’s best high school girls cross country runner.  A national advisory panel comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country helped select Goethals from more than 198,000 high school girls cross country runners nationwide.  Goethals is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.


The two-time Gatorade Michigan Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Goethals completed an unbeaten season by winning the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships with a time of 17:06.9, during which she out-leaned junior and three-time Gatorade Texas Runner of the Year Chelsey Sveinnson at the tape to produce the most exciting finish in the event’s 31-year history.  The 5-foot-8 senior also shattered her own state meet course record by 16 seconds in 16:54.8, repeating as Division 1 champion despite a stiff headwind.  Goethals, who owns six course records in the state of Michigan, added regular-season victories at the Spartan Invitational, the West Bloomfield Invitational, and the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships in 2009.  


Goethals has maintained a 3.66 GPA in the classroom.  A member of the National Honor Society, she has volunteered on behalf of Meals on Wheels as well as US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer, a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities.


“Goethals backed up her national title by dominating Michigan all fall and winning decisively at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional,” said Steve Underwood, Senior Editor for ESPN RISE/ “Her state meet victory—a 16:54.8 in the 5K that beat a great Division 1 field by a 1:15 margin—may have been the best state meet performance by anyone in the country.”


Goethals, who also earned Gatorade Michigan Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors in the spring of her junior year, has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Washington this fall.


“Without question, Megan is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school girls cross country runner based on her statistics on the course and the impact her accomplishments have had on Rochester High School’s success,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms.  “But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a student-athlete should be.  She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”


More on Goethals from Gatorade


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 each sport.


Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

·         Reigning American record-holder in the mile Alan Webb

·         WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie

·         Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning

·         Two-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh

·         2009 American League MVP Joe Mauer








Megan Goethals

Rochester/Rochester Hills, MI

High School Senior




Jordan Hasay

Ashley Brasovan


Mission College Prep/San Luis Obispo, CA

Wellington/Wellington, FL


University of Oregon

Duke University