Gatorade® National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year: Alexa Efraimson

  Gatorade® National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year: Alexa Efraimson  Professional Distance Runner Molly Huddle Surprises Standout with Elite Honor  PR Newswire  CAMAS, Wash., Feb. 27, 2014  CAMAS, Wash., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 29^th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recently announced Alexa Efraimson of Camas High School (Camas, Wash.) as its 2013-14 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Efraimson was surprised with the news at school by American record holder in the 5,000 meters and nine time All-American Molly Huddle.  "It was exciting for me to be able to surprise Alexa with the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award because she is such a deserving winner," said Huddle. "Alexa is a well-rounded individual who has already accomplished so much on and off the course, so it's an honor for me to welcome her into the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year family."  The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the course, distinguishes Efraimson as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Efraimson from nearly 215,000 high school girls cross country runners nationwide. Efraimson is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special evening ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.  The 5-foot-8 junior raced to the national title at the Nike Cross Nationals Final this past season, breaking the tape with a course-record time of 16:50.1. The 2012-13 Gatorade Washington Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Efraimson also captured the Class 4A individual state cross country championship with a course-record time of 17:01.1, leading the Papermakers to second place as a team. She also won the Nike Pre-Nationals, the Nike BorderClash and the Bill Dellinger Invitational, and finished first at the NXN Northwest Regional championships in 17:27.1.  Efraimson has maintained a 3.88 GPA in the classroom. A member of DECA and the National Honor Society, Efraimson has volunteered locally as a youth soccer referee and has served meals to the needy at the Zion Lutheran Church's Lost and Found Cafe.  "In a state that has produced some extraordinary distance runners over the past decade, Alexa seems to be the best of them all," said Doug Binder, Editor-in-Chief of Dyestat.com. "She has tremendous physical ability and combines that with fierce competitive instincts. She came into the cross country season fresh off a bronze medal performance in the 1,500 meters at the World Youth Championships in the Ukraine and that result gave her a lot of confidence. After that, I think we all believed she was capable of doing anything she set her mind to."  Efraimson will begin her senior year of high school this fall.  "Without question, Alexa is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls cross country runner based on her statistics on the course and the impact her accomplishments have had on Camas' success," said Gatorade Vice President, Global & Sports Marketing Andrea Fairchild. "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."  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 USA TODAY High School Sports  and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.  Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:    oSuper Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning   oFour-time gold medalist Allyson Felix   oWNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie   oKansas City Royals Cy Young award-winner Zach Grienke  For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOYor follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.  ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNERS OF THE YEAR YEAR    NAME            HIGH SCHOOL                        STATUS                         Camas High School/Camas, WA        High School Junior 2013-14 Alexa Efraimson                         Simi Valley High School/Simi       High School Senior 2012-13 Sarah Baxter    Valley, CA                                                            University of Notre 2011-12 Molly Seidel    University Lake School/Hartland,   Dame                         WI 2010-11 Aisling Cuffe                                      Stanford University                         Cornwall Central/New Windsor, NY 2009-10 Megan Goethals                                     University of                         Rochester/Rochester Hills, MI      Washington 2008-09 Jordan Hasay    Mission College Prep/San Luis      Nike Oregon Project                         Obispo, CA 2007-08 Ashley Brasovan                                    Duke University                         Wellington/Wellington, FL          graduate  About Gatorade The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Gatorade Thirst Quencher® is backed by more than 40 years of research and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. The company's product portfolio is built around the G Series™, a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before (Gatorade Prime 01™), during (Gatorade® Perform 02 and G2® Perform 02), and after (Gatorade Recover 03™) training or competition. For more information, please visit www.gatorade.com.  About PepsiCo PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 18 different product lines that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade – also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in over 200 countries. With more than $43 billion in 2008 revenues, PepsiCo employs 198,000 people who are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.  About USA TODAY Sports Media Group The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett's more than 100 well-known local media brands. It also includes the sports photography wire service USA TODAY Sports Images, USA TODAY High School Sports and the hundreds of sites within USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties such as thebiglead.com and mixed martial arts site MMAjunkie.com, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).  SOURCE Gatorade  Website: http://www.gatorade.com Contact: Jason Belenke, (312-729-3631)