After cementing her status as one of the best cross country runners in the country with a second-place finish at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship last month, Staples sophomore Hannah DeBalsi was named Connecticut Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for 2013-2014 on Wednesday.
DeBalsi, who is a finalist for the national award to be announced later this month, is the first female Staples runner to win the award. Former Wreckers standout Henry Wynne captured the male honor last season.
"Hannah's determination, energy and passion are contagious," said Staples High head coach Amanda Parrish in a press release. "Although she's only a sophomore, I frequently find myself counting on her as a leader, not just in the results, but at practice on a daily basis."
According to Gatorade, the award factors in academic excellence and exemplary character in addition to athletic achievement.
DeBalsi set records in all 10 races during the regular season, and swept the Class LL, State Open and New England Championships.