Zakeer Ahmad of Staples has been named the 2016-17 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, the organization announced in a release Monday.
Ahmad is the second Gatorade Connecticut Boys Cross Country runner of the year to be chosen from Staples. Henry Wynne was the other in 2012-2013. He is also the fourth-straight FCIAC boys cross country runner to win the award and the seventh from Fairfield County.
Ahmad raced to the State Open championship this past season with a time of 15:46.
He also won the Class LL state championship in 15:49, leading the Wreckers to the state title as a team.
Ahmad also won the Stratton Brook Invitational and the FCIAC championships. He placed third at the New England Cross Country Championships and sixth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships.
Ahmad has volunteered locally on behalf of youth track programs and charity road races. He has maintained a 3.66 GPA in the classroom and will attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Ahmad joins Gatorade Connecticut Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Eric van der Els (2015-16, McMahon), Alex Ostberg (2014-15 and 2013-14, Darien), Henry Wynne (2012-13, Staples), Connor Rog (2011-12 and 2010-11, Fairfield Prep), John Raneri (2009-10 and 2008-09, New Fairfield), and Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.