WATERVILLE — Bethanie Brown dominated the state competition during the cross country season, besting every competitor regardless of Class by nearly a minute at the state championship meet in Belfast.
The Waterville senior shined at New Englands and was impressive at the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals.
“I put in a lot of work into what I do,” Brown said.
That work all paid off Thursday when it was announced Brown was the Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for Maine.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Brown said. “It’s nice to be rewarded for all my hard work. It really is an honor.”
ESPN HS conducts the selection process for Gatorade state and national athlete of the year awards. The award, which Gatorade first presented in 1985, recognizes outstanding athletic and academic excellence. Brown maintains a 4.27 weighted grade point average, which is No. 1 in her class.
“This is certainly a tremendous honor,” Waterville cross country coach Rob Stanton said. “It’s put her up there with some heady competition with some Maine athletes who have won it over the years.”
Former Kennebunk standout runner Abbey Leonardi won the award the last three years.
“Abbey has always been like a role model for me over the years,” Brown said. “I’ve always looked up to her.”
Brown won the Class B state championship with a time of 17 minutes, 56.32 seconds. She then went on to finish seventh at the New England meet with a time of 19:18.60. She finished 11th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional in 18:42.30.
“In terms of the state, she had about as dominant a year as an athlete can have,” Stanton said.
Brown, who will run at the University of Connecticut next fall, is running indoor track and field with an eye on the outdoor season.
“I’m focusing on the 800-meter run,” Brown said. “I want to improve my speed so I’m working on that. I have the distance thing down. I’m looking at things right now as one, big track season. I want to peak for outdoor.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640