Kate Wiser from Pomperaug has been tabbed the 2020-21 Gatorade Connecticut Girls Cross Country Player of the Year, Gatorade announced on Thursday morning. Wiser is the first runner to be chosen from Pomperaug.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Wister is now a finalist for Gatorade’s National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in April.
The 5-foot senior raced to victory at the East Coast Championships this past fall with a time of 17:25.9. Wiser also captured the Northeast High School Club Championships in 16:46.8 and won her fourth consecutive South-West Conference championship.
Wiser helps provide care for her grandmother and has volunteered locally on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
“Four years ago, a petite freshman showed up for practice with the goal of making the team’s top seven,” Pomperaug coach Mark Goodwin said in a statement. “Now, Kate has proven to be one of the best distance runners in the country. She trained hard and then put that training into play. Her only roadblock her senior year has been the pandemic.”
Wiser has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a national letter of intent to compete in cross country and track and field on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame 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 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.
Wiser joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Sydney Masciarelli (2019-20 and 2018-19, Marianapolis Prep) and Morgan McCormick (2017-18 and 2016-17, Wilton), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Wiser has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Wiser is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.