Air Academy star Katie Rainsberger selected national cross country runner of the year.
Air Academy star the Gatorade cross country runner of the year
Katie Rainsberger is about as decorated a high school distance runner as Colorado has seen, and Thursday the Air Academy star was named the Gatorade national cross country runner of the year.
In a morning ceremony at her high school, located at the Air Force Academy, Rainsberger became the first Coloradan to attain the honor. It was instituted in the 2007-08 school year.
Rainsberger won back-to-back Class 4A cross country championships the past two seasons after twice finishing as a runnerup. And as a senior, in addition to leading her Kadets to the team state title, she won the Nike Cross Nationals in a record time of 16 minutes, 56.8 seconds. She also had the best regional qualifying time, 17:07. (Her state record was 17:39.)
Rainsberger, who has signed to compete for Oregon, won the past two Colorado Gatorade state awards and did not lose a distance race in 2015.
She has a 4.49 grade-point average. She volunteers her time through USA Track and Field as well as charity road races. Sportswomen of Colorado and Rotary Club International also have honored her as a student-athlete.
Distance running is a family sport — her mother, Lisa Larsen Weidenbach, is the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon, in 1985.
Air Academy star Katie Rainsberger, who won the 3,200-meter run for Class 4A girls at Jeffco Stadium last year, won back-toback 4A cross country championships the past two seasons after twice finishing as a runner-up. John Leyba, Denver Post file