North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Watauga Runner Wins Award From Gatorade


CHICAGO — In its 26th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, has announced Darby Middlebrook of Watauga High School as its 2010-11 Gatorade North Carolina 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 Middlebrook as North Carolina’s best high school girls cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January.

The 5-foot-7 sophomore raced to the Class 4A individual state championship this past season with a course-record time of 17:49.70, leading the Pioneers to second place as a team. A DyeStat Cross Country Top 25 series Honorable Mention selection, Middlebrook placed 13th at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 17:48. Middlebrook captured first place at the High Country Classic, the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference Championships and the Class 4A West Regional.

Middlebrook has maintained a 4.36 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, she has volunteered on behalf of the Watuaga Women’s Fund to benefit area women in need.

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 and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.