Air Academy star Katie Rains­berger se­lected na­tional cross coun­try run­ner of the year.

Air Academy star the Ga­torade cross coun­try run­ner of the year

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Neil H. Devlin Neil H. Devlin: nde­vlin@den­ver­post.com or @neilde­vlin

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

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