Perrin Named Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year

By Beacon Staff

Flathead High senior Zach Perrin was named the Gatorade Montana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year on Thursday.

Perrin is the first Brave to earn Gatorade’s cross country honor since the award was added in 2007.

Perrin, the reigning Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, became the ninth Flathead runner, and first since 2003, to win the Class AA cross country state championship in the fall. He was only the second prep runner from Montana to finish in the top 10 at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals in San Diego this winter.

Perrin, who remains undecided on where he will compete in college, has maintained a B average in the classroom and has served on the school’s student government, according to Gatorade. He is also a member of the concert choir and has volunteered for his church and as a youth athletic instructor. He once ran 50 miles in a single day to raise money for a young girl suffering from cancer.

Since 1985, Gatorade has been recognizing the nation’s best high school athletes in a variety of sports. Along with athletic success, judges take into account academic achievement and exemplary character. USA TODAY and Gatorade partner together for the selection process.

Bigfork sophomore Makena Morley recently won the Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Perrin joins a small list of standout Flathead distance runners who have been named the best in the state by Gatorade. David Vidal won the boys track and field award twice, in 2000 and 2001. Seth Grossman won in 2007. Zoe Nelson won the girls track award three times, between 2003-05.

Whitefish’s Drew Coco is the only other valley runner to earn the cross country award so far. He won in 2009.