St. Pius X Catholic High School senior Austin Sprague (Dunwoody) has been named the 2013-14 Gatorade Georgia Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year. He is the first student-athlete chosen from the school as state runner of the year. He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year to be announced later this month.
Sprague raced to his second consecutive AAA individual state championship with a time of 16:08.37 pacing the boys’ team to its fourth consecutive AAA state crown. Sprague was also named Co-Runner of the Year by the Atlanta Track Club after a season which saw him finish fourth in the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional. He also placed 32nd at the NXN Final national race and has finished in the top 30 at both the 2011 and 2012 Foot Locker South Regional Championships.
“Austin is the fiercest competitor that I’ve ever coached,” said head boys’ cross country coach Ryan McClay. “He does everything right, but is still able to maintain a strong academic standing at the school and balance his social life as well. He has had a goal since his freshman year of making it to nationals, and I was so happy when he accomplished that this year.”
In addition to maintaining a 3.17 grade point average, Sprague also donates his time to children on the Autism spectrum as a camp counselor at PEOTSI Day camp. He has also volunteered at Project Open Hand. He will run cross country at Furman University.According to Gatorade’s website, the Gatorade Company and USA Today High School Sports, 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.