Karrie Baloga Wins Girls New York Player Of The Year For XC

CHICAGO (January 23, 2023) -- In its 38th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Karrie Baloga of Cornwall Central High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade New York Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Baloga is the second Gatorade New York Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Cornwall 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 Baloga as New York's best 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, Baloga 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, N.Y.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.).

The state's returning Gatorade Player of the Year, the 5-foot-7 senior raced to the individual title at the Champs Sports National Championships this past season with a time of 16:49.2. Baloga also won the Class B individual state championship with a time of 17:49, leading the Dragons to second place as a team. She was victorious at the Manhattan Invitational, breaking the tape in 13:55.3 to clock the fifth-fastest time over 2.5 miles in the history of the Van Cortlandt Park course. Her win at the Section 9 Championship in 16:18.7 is the second-fastest ever run by a prep girl at Bear Mountain State Park. Baloga also triumphed at the Ocean State Invitational, the Burnt Hills Invitational, the Orange County Championships and the New York Federation Championships among her eight victories. She took second at the Champs Sports Northeast Regional Championships prior to winning the national title to cap her season.

Selected by Dragons' coaches to be a member of the Cornwall Central High School Leadership Council, a group focused on conveying to student-athlete peers the role and responsibilities of leadership on and off the field, both in school and the community at large, Baloga is also a member of the Cornwall Central High School Environmental Club, contributing to a student-centered garden on campus as well as a reboot of Cornwall's pre-pandemic recycling program. In addition, she has donated her time as part of the Cornwall Central High School Girls in Sport Day--a workshop that allowed girls to be introduced to new sports with the help of fellow student-athletes--and she plans to serve as a volunteer coach for the local Girls On The Run developmental program this spring.

"Baloga became the first athlete to capture a second Champs title (formerly Foot Locker) for her High School by a different athlete. In addition, she broke the SPAC Course Record, one of the most storied courses in New York History. She also ran the fourth highest Speed Rating in State History, putting her in exalted territory."

Baloga has maintained an A average in the classroom.  She has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on scholarship at the University of Colorado at Boulder this fall.

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 the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.

Two-time winner Baloga joins recent Gatorade New York Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Brooke Rauber (2020-21, Tully High School), and Katelyn Tuohy (2019-20 & 2018-19, North Rockland High School), among the state's list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade's Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade's social impact partners, supporting Gatorade's ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game 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 sport.

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 instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade. ###