In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Ricky Faure of Rock Springs High School, as its 2012-13 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

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 Faure as Wyoming’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, Faure 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-7, 140-pound junior raced to his second consecutive Class 4A individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:33.78, leading the Tigers to a second-place finish as a team.

A three-time First Team All-State selection, Faure earned 18th place at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 16:09.

He also placed 106th at the Foot Locker West Regional championships with a time of 17:16.

Faure has maintained a B average in the classroom.

He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House, Cowboys Against Cancer and at a hospice care center.

“Ricky Faure is an excellent competitor with the work ethic required to continue to make himself better,” said Rock Springs head coach Brad DeKrey. “He is very determined and he knows how to make the most of his abilities.”

Faure will begin his senior 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.

Faure joins Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Oliver Scofield (2011-12, Jackson Hole High School), Alex Sorensen (2010-11, Evanston High School), Spencer Pecha (2009-10, Campbell County), and Dominick Robinson (2008-09 & 2007-08, Campbell County) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.