Bethany Hasz named Gatorade Runner of the Year
Alexandria’s Bethany Hasz was honored for her standout cross country season from this past fall by being named the 2013-2014 Gatorade Minnesota Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year on January 8.
Hasz is the first girls Gatorade Runner of the Year ever chosen from Jefferson High School.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Hasz said. “It felt great to win it. Megan was nominated too, and she deserved it just as much as I did.”
The twin sisters both had great cross country seasons, but Bethany’s Class AA title helped her solidify the award. She proved to have a knack for performing her best in big races, winning the state championship in a time of 13:53.1 to help capture her second straight first team all-state honor. She then took first at the 2013 Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championship in a time of 17:17.5. That earned her a spot in the Nike Cross National finals where she placed 13th in 17:54.
“I don’t really know,” Bethany said when asked about what allows her to run so well in those big races. “I don’t really get nervous like a lot of people do, but I’m focused for all of my races. I guess it’s just kind of lucky.”
The Gatorade award recognizes not only accomplishments on the race course but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the race course.
Hasz has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom. She is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an accomplished cellist and has volunteered locally on behalf of Feed My Starving Children and as a youth track and field coach.
“Bethany is a focused and intense student-athlete,” coach Mark Nelsen said in a statement. “She is committed and dedicated to excellence. She has become a student of the sport of cross country at a very young age and is extremely coachable.”
Hasz now joins other decorated Minnesota runners as recipients of the Gatorade Runner of the Year Award in the state since its inception in 2007. Included on that list are four-time award winner Maria Hauger of Shakopee, Cassy Opitz of Eden Prairie and Laura Hughes of Mankato West.