Tiahna Vladic of Billings Senior High School was named the 2016-17 Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishing Vladic as Montana’s best high school girls cross country runner.
Vladic is the first Gatorade runner of the year from Billings Senior High School.
The 5-foot-4 sophomore won the Class AA state meet this past season with a time of 16:40.74, breaking the tape 10.64 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor and leading the Broncs to a second-place finish as a team. Vladic also placed fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships and finished 21st at the NXN Final, falling short of All-American honors by just 0.1 seconds. She is a two-time Class AA All-State selection.
Vladic has volunteered locally at the Montana Marathon and as a youth running coach.
“Tiahna is an extremely hard-working and dedicated runner,” said Sarah Lord, head coach of Billings Senior High. “She works to her fullest potential every day and never shies away from workouts or races that seem too daunting.”
Vladic 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.
Vladic joins Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Annie Hill (2015-16, Glacier High School), Makena Morley (2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13 & 2011-12), Bigfork High School), Caroline Hardin (2010-11, Bozeman High School), and Heidi Turner (2009-10, 2008-09 & 2007-08, Bozeman High School), as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.