CHICAGO -- Helena High sophomore Kylie Hartnett was named the Montana Gatorade girls cross country runner of the year on Monday.
Though Hartnett still has the track and field season to truly cap her 2019-20 year, it's a fitting end to the cross country portion of her season. Harnett won October's Class AA girls state cross country meet title with a time of 17 minutes, 49.68 seconds, finishing nearly 15 seconds ahead of the next-closest competitor.
Helena High finished third in the team race at the State AA invite, with Hartnett and Missoula Sentinel's Brooke Stayner the lone sophomores in the individual top 10. Hartnett's Helena High teammate, Odessa Zentz, a fellow sophomore, placed 13th.
"Kylie is a tough competitor. What makes Kylie stand out is her fierce determination to improve," Billings Senior head coach Sarah Lord said in a Gatorade release. "Winning or not, she was always determined to push herself to be her best.”
Hartnett, who finished eighth at the state meet as a freshman, capturing all-state honors, won every cross country race of the season less one -- a runner-up finish in Bozeman.
Arguably her most impressive win, though, came at the prestigious Mountain West Classic in Missoula, where she became the first Helena High female to win the multi-state race. She also finished 10th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional and 62nd overall at the Nike Cross Nationals Final.
Hartnett holds a 3.86 GPA, and has volunteered her time as a youth running coach in the Helena community. She follows in the footsteps of fellow distance standouts like Tiahna Vladic (2016-17 and 2018-19), Camiloa Noe (2017-18), Annie Hill (2015-16) and Makena Morley (2014-15) to win Montana's Gatorade award.
As a state winner of the award, Hartnett now has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to the local or national youth sports organization of her choosing as part of Gatorade's "Play it Forward" campaign. If she chooses, she may also pen an essay for a chance to win one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which would also be donated to the organization of her choice.