CHICAGO (January 8, 2014) — In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Kyandra Chandler of Nettleton High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Arkansas Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Chandler is the first Gatorade Arkansas Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Nettleton 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 racecourse, distinguishes Chandler as Arkansas'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, Chandler joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-4 junior raced to the Class 5A individual state title this past season with a time of 18:26.7. A two-time First Team All-State selection, Chandler was the fastest Arkansas competitor at the Foot Locker South Regional championships, clocking an 18:10 to cross the line in 44th place.
Chandler has maintained a 4.05 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and an officer in her school's Beta Club, she in an accomplished trumpet player and has served as past president and secretary of her local chapter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Women's Program.
"Kyandra Chandler is an extremely dedicated runner with an amazing work ethic," said Nettleton High head coach Brad Davis. "She is not only an outstanding athlete, but also a top notch student and an all-around great kid." Chandler will begin her senior year of high school 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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.
Chandler joins Gatorade Arkansas Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Maggie Montoya (2012-13 & 2011-12, Rogers High School), Valerie Reina (2010-11, Har-Ber High School), Erika Setzler (2009-10, Conway), and Grace Heymsfield (2008-09 & 2007-08, Elkins) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.