* Reese Fahys running at the 2020 RIIL State Championships.
- - -
CHICAGO (April 8, 2021) - In its 36th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Reese Fahys of East Greenwich High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Fahys is the first Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from East Greenwich 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 field, distinguishes Fahys as Rhode Island's best high school girls cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in April, Fahys joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10, Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Ill.).
The 5-foot-8 sophomore won the state meet this past season with a time of 17:43.51, breaking the tape 15.02 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor and leading the Avengers to a second place finish as a team. Fahys was undefeated on the season and also won the Class B Championships by 44.7 seconds. She was the 2019 New Jersey Group 3 state champion as a freshman while attending Middletown South High, and qualified for the 2019 Nike Cross Nationals Final where she finished 64th.
Fahys has volunteered as a lifeguard and as a member of her school's Key Club. "When my team faced East Greenwich, it became so clear not even 1,000 meters into the race that Reese was an elite-level runner," said Carlton Bradshaw, head coach of Coventry High. "I took a shortcut to run to the 1000-meter mark to give my team splits, and she almost beat me to it."
Fahys has maintained a weighted 3.75 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.
Fahys joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Margot Appleton (2019-20, Portsmouth Abbey School), Elizabeth Sullivan (2018-19, Portsmouth High School), and Ellie Lawler (2017-18 & 2016-17, South Kingstown High School), among the state's list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Fahys has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Fahys is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.