By: Kristy Tamashiro, Spring News Intern
HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - A pair of Hawaii high school athletes can now lay claim to being the best cross country runners in the state.
Gatorade on Thursday crowned Veronica Winham and Connor Lehl it's girls and boys cross country runners of the year, an award based on athletic accomplishments, academic production and outstanding character during the 2016-17 season.
Winham, junior from Seabury Hall, reigned over the Maui Interscholastic League as the 2016 MIL Female Cross Country Runner of the Year. She was also the top local finisher at the Foot Locker West Regional championship.
Winham has devoted her time off the track volunteering with Best Buddies International and Rotary Interact Club while maintaining a 3.7 GPA in academics.
Lehl becomes the first Punahou student to win the coveted Gatorade award. He finished his prep career with an undefeated record in state competitions. He was also one the top finishers at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships.
Lehl volunteers at the Hawaii Shingon Mission and as a preschool aide while maintaining a 3.61 GPA. The Buff n' Blu senior remains undecided about his collegiate future.
Both Hall and Lehl dominated and won their respective Hawaii High School Athletic Association state meets this past season. They each get to select a national or local youth sports program to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.