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Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year: Jordan Hasay
California standout named nation's top high school performer

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - (January 28, 2009) - In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership with ESPN RISE Magazine, has announced senior distance runner Jordan Hasay of Mission College Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) as its 2008-09 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 Hasay as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country helped to select Hasay from more than 190,000 high school girls cross country runners nationwide. Hasay 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.

A two-time Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Hasay was unbeaten this past season and raced to a national title at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. The senior, who also won the Foot Locker championship as a freshman, captured the 2008 Division 5 state title with the fastest time in any class, 17:18, and also broke the tape at the Mt. Sac Invitational in October. The 5-foot-4 Hasay became the first runner ever to win four Foot Locker Cross Country regional championships when she topped the field at the 2008 West Regional in December.

The owner of nine national age-group records, Hasay, who finished 10th in the 1500 meter finals at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials last July in Eugene, set a new high school record with a time of 4:14.50 in the Trials semi-finals.

The 2007-08 USA Cross Country junior champion has maintained a 4.53 GPA in the classroom. She is active in the St. Patrick's Parish Youth Ministry program, has volunteered in the People's Kitchen at the Prado Day Center for the homeless, and has donated her time to the Special Olympics and the Invisible Children Project humanitarian-aid initiative.

"She runs a very strategic race every single time," said Joy Kamani, Chief Operations Officer and Girls Recruiting Chair for the National Scholastic Sports Foundation. "That sticks out to me more than anything else about her because down the road, that's what's going to count. She's beautiful to watch. She's all business until you see that glorious smile at the end. She's a beautiful runner to watch because she competes instead of just running. A lot of distance kids start to decline as a junior and senior. She has not. She has maintained and gotten better and turned herself into arguably the best girls' high school talent of the last generation."

Hasay, who joins 2007-08 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Ashley Brasovan as the only other female to win the honor, remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

"Without question, Jordan is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner based on her performance and the tremendous ability she's demonstrated," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. "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."

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 Magazine, which works 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 200 meter world champion Allyson Felix
* 2007 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
* Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez
* WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
* Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and lists of past winners and future announcement dates, visit: gatorade.com/playeroftheyear


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