The 6-foot-1, 145-pound junior raced to the Class 4A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:08.07. Rich also won the Region 3 championship, the Lakelands Invitational, the George Moss Classic and the York County championship. He took 23rd at the RunningLane National Championships.
A devoted member of his church community, Rich has volunteered locally on behalf of a youth soccer program. "Sam Rich is one of the most gifted athletes I've come across," said Catawba Ridge coach David Helms. "From the outside he seems like a quiet, laidback runner, but he's a real competitor and shows his leadership and talent via his actions on the course."
Rich has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. He will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
Rich joins recent Gatorade South Carolina Boys Cross Country Players of the Year Coen Roberts (2019-20, Greer High School), Colin Baker (2018-19, Academic Magnet High School), Wynn Johnson (2017-18, Dorman High School), and John Ward (2016-17, Wade Hampton High School), among the state's list of former award winners.
Katie Pou received the honor for girls.