It's been an amazing year for Florida's Wellington High junior Ashley Brasovan! After finally overcoming the "Footlocker South curse", she not only qualified for Foot Locker Nationals, but won the national championship! With a fearsome and uncharacteristic late race surge, she outkicked the best the nation had to offer including two former national champions. With that performance, along with another stellar year of races including a third cross country state championship, Gatorade announced today that Ashley has been named its first-ever Gatorade Girls National Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Ashley's family threw her a surprise dinner party last night to annonce the news to her, apparently under the guise of her sister's birthday party. Imagine what her reaction must have been when she found out! We have an interview scheduled with Ashley, which will be posted perhaps tonight.
Florida runner named nation’s top high school performer
WEST PALM BEACH (January 24, 2008) – In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership with RISE Magazine, today announced Ashley Brasovan of Wellington High School (Wellington, Fla.) as its 2007-08 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Brasovan becomes the first student-athlete to win the award. The Gatorade Company announced the addition of girls cross country to the Player of the Year program this past October.
The award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Brasovan 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 select Brasovan from more than 180,000 high school girls cross country runners nationwide. Brasovan is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year Award, to be presented at a special ceremony the afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
Brasovan, a junior distance runner, won the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships national title with a time of 17:20, outracing defending national champion Kathy Kroeger of Tennessee and 2005 national champion Jordan Hasay of California for the victory. Brasovan finished sixth at the Foot Locker South Regional in 17:20 and also captured a third consecutive Class 4A individual state championship this past fall. Brasovan’s triumphs in 2007 included a meet-record victory (16:43) at Tampa’s Southern Stars Invitational, a course-record win (17:10.77) at the University of Florida Mountain Dew Classic and a course-record victory (17:06) at the Great American Cross Country Festival in the Girls’ Nike Race of Champions.
Brasovan has maintained a 4.4 weighted GPA in the classroom. An annual participant in the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Race for the Cure, Brasovan serves as editor of the sports section for her school’s yearbook and has donated her time to the Wellington Parks & Recreation youth football program. She has also volunteered on behalf of the Wellington Art Festival and waited tables as part of a charity effort to benefit the Wellington High literary magazine, Poetic Justice.
“She is probably the most determined runner that I’ve ever met,” said Wellington Head Coach Kara Weber-Fleming. “She’s very mentally tough and does whatever she has to do to be successful. She usually takes the lead; she never really has to come from behind. That was the only surprising thing about the (Foot Locker) Nationals.”
Brasovan, just the ninth high school junior to win a national Gatorade award in the program’s 22-year history, will begin her senior year of high school this fall and remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
“Without question, Ashley 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 runners 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 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
• NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
• WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
• Softball gold medalist Cat Osterman
• 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.
Ashley Brasovan smiles after receiving her Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year trophy from Gatorade representative Liz Prassas at Wellington (Fla.) High School —photo courtesy of Gatorade/Mark Elias
Ashley Brasovan poses with her Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year trophy in the gym at Wellington (Fla.) High School —photo courtesy of Gatorade/Mark Elias
Ashley Brasovan sits with her Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year trophy at Wellington (Fla.) High School —photo courtesy of Gatorade/Mark Elias
The Wellington (Fla.) High School cross country team celebrates Ashley Brasovan being named the 2007-08 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year —photo courtesy of Gatorade/Mark Elias