Monday, January 29, 2018
During Florida’s 2017 high school cross-country season, Ana Wallace was the FHSAA-3A girls’ state champion, a Foot Locker finalist, and a Foot Locker All-American. Now she is also Gatorade Georgia Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. In a 29 January 2018 press release, Gatorade named Wallace as the 2017-2018 recipient of the annual award.
Wallace opened her senior year at Tallahassee, Florida’s Chiles High by winning six races during the regular season, including the class 3A high school girls’ state championship. Since the girls’ state championship was first established in 1974, only six other Leon County athletes have won a girls’ title–Rosemary Desloge (1979) of Leon, Jessica Scafidi (1988, 1989, 1990) of Leon, Kathi Ward (1991, 1992) of Lincoln, Carly Thomas (2009) of Chiles, Rachel Givens (2012) of Chiles, and Alyson Churchill (2016) of Lincoln. Wallace’s win led the Chiles girls to the team title–the fifth by a Chiles girls’ team in the school’s history.
Wallace’s cross-country season didn’t end with the State Championship. Two weeks later she raced at the Foot Locker South Regional at McAlpine Creek Greenway Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. Running 17:28, Wallace qualified for the 39th annual Foot Locker National Cross-Country Championships at Balboa Park in San Diego, California. In qualifying, Wallace joins an elite group of Tallahassee girls who were Foot Locker finalists before her–Leon’s Jessica Scafidi (1990), Lincoln’s Kathi Ward (1991, 1992), and Chiles’ Lily Williams (2011).
A 4.0-GPA student at Chiles High, Wallace is the eighth different athlete named Gatorade Florida Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year since the award was instituted in 2007.