As she sat in English class Monday morning, Anna Martin of Lehi High School received a request to go to the school office. Initially, the junior runner thought it was just to field another letter from a college interested in her services.
But much to her surprise, Martin learned she had won the Gatorade Utah Player of the Year Award for cross country.
“This is a super big honor for me, especially to be able to have something to give back to my school and just to be able to represent them,” Martin said in a phone interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. “I wasn’t expecting it. It was really exciting.”
Martin became the first from Lehi to win the award for girls' cross country. She said it felt “cool” to be able to set an example for other runners and help inspire her teammates.
Martin won the 4A state championship in cross country in October, setting the course record with a finishing time of 17 minutes, 15.0 seconds in the 3-mile competition at Sugar House Park.
Martin also won the Region 10 Championships, the BYU Autumn Classic, the Wasatch Invitational and the Park City Invitational. She took third at the Foot Locker West Regional championships and finished 34th nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.
In May of last year, when Martin was a sophomore track athlete, she won the state championship in the 3,200 meters, clocking the second-best time in that event (10:46.59).
“I know there’s fantastic female distance runners out there, especially in our state,” Martin’s coach, Chris Dorton, told The Tribune. “For her to just be in the top elite group with those other runners, it’s just really exciting and I’m just really, really proud of her and what she’s been able to accomplish.”
Dorton learned of Martin’s award when Lehi athletic director Jason Flinders mentioned it in passing during a conversation. From there, the two called Martin out of class to give her the news.
Martin said she hopes to run in college, and is fielding offers from several colleges. For now, she is keeping her options open, she said.
The award, Martin said, will help push her to be even better entering her senior year this fall.