Carlee Hansen of Woods Cross High wins Gatorade award for girls’ cross country

Hansen also won the award for girls’ track and field last year.

(Photo courtesy of Frank Bellino/MileSplit California ) Carlee Hansen of Woods Cross High crosses the finish line in a long distance race. Hansen, a senior, won the Gatorade Utah Girls' Cross Country Player of the Year award. She won the award last year for track and field.

Carlee Hansen last year became the first girl from Woods Cross High to win the Gatorade award in Utah for track and field. Last month, she made school history again, but for a different running sport.

Hansen was named the Gatorade Girls’ Cross Country Player of the Year in Utah, becoming the first girl from Woods Cross to win for that sport. When it came to the track and field accolade, Hansen was surprised to get the award because almost all of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in terms of cross country, Hansen winning the award appears to be a no-brainer. She won the 5A state individual title a race time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. She also won the Wasatch Invitational, the Wildcat Invitational, the TwiKnight Invitational and the Border Wars Utah Qualifier.

“I was more proud, actually, if I’m being honest, of this one than I was my track one,” Hansen said of winning the cross country award. “Track, I felt like we didn’t have a season. So I was like, well this isn’t really proof of how well I could’ve done — even though … I was working really hard. So I felt like this is the first one where … I put in the effort to do well and I completed a season.”

Hansen does not consider cross country to be her strongest sport, she said, which added to her excitement about winning the Gatorade award.

Hansen will attend the University of North Carolina and compete in cross country and track and field there. She said she’s looking forward to the heightened competition the college environment will offer.

“I can get beat,” Hansen said with a chuckle. “I’m expecting losses there, which is exciting to be able to work to win.”

Woods Cross coach Zachary Hansen called the senior “the most accomplished athlete that we have ever had” at the school for cross country and track and field. She has school records in multiple track and field events and three consecutive state titles in cross country, he said.

“In short, Carlee has raised the competitive standard at Woods Cross in every possible way,” Zachary Hansen said. “In addition to her accomplishments, she is a terrific person who is kind and well-respected by her teammates.”