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CHICAGO (January 23, 2023) – In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s top high school athletes, Gatorade today announced that Salina Central High School’s Katelyn Rupe is the 2022-23 Gatorade Kansas Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Rupe is the first Gatorade Kansas Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be drafted out of Salina Central High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Rupe as Kansas’ top high school girls’ cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Rupe joins an elite alumni association of state award winners, including Natalie Cook (2021-22, Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, Texas), Katelyn Tuohy (2019-20, North Rockland High School, Thiels, NY), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Michigan), and Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, California).

The 5-foot-4 sophomore ran at the Class 5A individual state championship last season with a time of 17:13.84. Rupe also won Rim Rock Classic and regional status among his six wins. She also finished 13th at the Nike Heartland Regional Championships in South Dakota. Recipient of an award from the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, Rupe is also a member of the Future Health Professionals Group (HOSA), a student-led organization with a mission to advance career opportunities in healthcare and improve care delivery quality healthcare. She is also actively involved with her First Presbyterian Church youth group. Katelyn Rupe made a big impact in her first season of cross country after playing tennis previously, building on her Class 5A track titles in the 1,600m and 3,200m events this spring to go undefeated against the Kansas competition last fall,” said Erik Boal, an editor at DyeStat.com. “Her success was highlighted by a masterful performance to win the state championship by over a minute at Rim Rock Farm.”

Rupe maintained a weighted GPA of 4.04 in class. She will begin her freshman year of high school this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes a winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 sanctioning states in high school football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ soccer and women’s baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, and awards a national player of the year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, the media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine state winners in each sport.

Rupe joins recent Gatorade Kansas Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Anjali Hocker Singh (2021-22, Olathe North High School), Taylor Briggs (2020-21, Chapman High School), Hope Jackson (2019-20, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School) and Jaybe Shufelberger (2018-19, Washburn Rural High School), on the state’s list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward to the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, each Player of the Year receives a grant to donate to one of Gatorade’s Impact Partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sports. To date, grants from Gatorade Player of the Year winners have totaled more than $3.5 million to more than 1,300 organizations.

For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sports.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners, or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at ‘address instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.

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