Tony Russell named Gatorade Male XC Athlete of the Year for PA




CHICAGO (January 16, 2014) — In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Tony Russell of Henderson High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Russell is the first Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Henderson High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Russell as Pennsylvania’s best high school boys cross country runner.  Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Russell joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-8, 130-pound senior raced to the Class AAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:49, leading the Warriors to the state title as a team. Russell won the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 15:46.4 and took 11th nationally at the NXN Final. He also won the Manhattan Invitational.

Russell has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth running programs and Bringing Hope Home, which provides assistance to the families of cancer victims.

“Tony has great talent and he had a great year,” said West Chester Henderson coach Kevin Kelly. “He’s a super-fluid runner with tremendous endurance, and he’s not afraid to go after it. His performances speak for themselves.”


Russell has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Penn State University beginning 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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with   USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.

Russell joins Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Brendan Shearn (2012-13, North Schuylkill High School), Dustin Wilson (2011-12, Chestnut Hill Academy), Zach Hedba (2010-11, North Hills Senior High School), Brad Miles (2009-10, North Penn), Ben Furcht (2008-09, Lower Merion), and Mark Dennin (2007-08, Boyertown Area Senior) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit