In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Anna Gibson of Jackson Hole High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Wyoming Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Gibson is the first Gatorade Wyoming Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Jackson Hole 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 Gibson as Wyoming’s best high school girls cross country runner.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Gibson 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.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-4 freshman raced to a Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:43.49, leading the Broncs to a third-place finish as a team.

A 2013 First Team All-State selection, Gibson won the Nike Cross Nationals Girls Varsity 5K Race, breaking the tape in 18:50.

She also claimed victory in the freshman race at the Bob Firman Invitational, beating her next-closest competitor by more than a minute with a time of 18:57.30.

Gibson has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

A member of the Key Club and the Model United Nations Club, she founded Green Ways, a non-profit group which encourages young people to support the environment by making art from recycled items.

“Anna Gibson is by far the most inspirational runner I have coached,” said Jackson Hole head coach Jeff Brazil. “She loves running, training, racing and the team. As a freshman, she has changed the team dynamic from one of working hard and striving for success to one that loves the work and loves competing, both within themselves and with others.”

Gibson will begin her sophomore 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 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.

Gibson joins Gatorade Wyoming Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Hailey Ricks (2012-13 and 2011-12, Star Valley High School), Jessica Lemaster (2010-11, Cheyenne Central High School), Dana Morin (2009-10, Sheridan), Nicole Peterson (2008-09, Rock Springs), and Jessica Lemaster (2007-08, Cheyenne Central) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.