Woodmont junior Aaron Ramirez, the Class AAA 2008 state cross country champion, was named state cross country Gatorade runner of the year earlier today, the organization announced.
"I was not expecting this award at all, although I had heard of runners receiving the award for other states and ours," said Ramirez. "I thought I might be able to eventually get it as a senior, but getting it as a junior really suprised me."
Ramirez is the first runner to receive the honor at Woodmont and was informed today about being named.
"When I got the news that I was being evaluated for the award, I was both suprised and excited that I might be able to have such an honor," Ramirez told scrunners.com. "To actually be named the Gatorade Runner of the Year means alot to me, and will definitely be something I will remember from my (high school) career."
Seneca's Tameka Jackson was named girls state runner of the year last week.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the course.
Ramirez and Jackson are now finalists for the Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year awards. The award is scheduled for a February announcement.
Ramirez, entered in the 3,000-meter run at the Knoxville Track Club Invitational Jan. 31, feels he is better shape now compared to cross country season and looking to run a fast time in the meet.
"My training is going great for track (I prefer the cold weather running than summer running). I've been increasing my mileage slowly and I feel that I am in better shape now than I was for cross country," Ramirez said. "I have been biking and swimming consistently as well (my New Years resolution was to actually take a day off every now and then). I'm entered in the 3,000-meter run invitational at the KTC Indoor Invitational, and I hope to throw down a fast time!"
Chapin alumnus Luke Lovelace was named state runner for 2007-2008.
“When the races start, he’s out there. After the first quarter-mile, if there’s anyone with him, they’re not there for long,” said Woodmont coach Tony Williams in the official press release. “He’s a very aggressive runner. He doesn’t sit back. If you can catch him, good luck.”
"To have received such a prestigous award and still have another year of high school means alot to me," Ramirez concluded. "And I plan on dropping that time much lower than the 15:45 I ran at state along with my 3200-meter personal record this year. I have a couple of big goals set that I feel I can reach by the end of track."