CHICAGO — Billings Senior can add another Gatorade athlete of the year to its storied history.
Tiahna Vladic won her second Montana Gatorade girls cross country runner of the year award on Monday. Vladic also won Montana’s 2016-17 runner of the year honor.
In the fall, Vladic, a 5-foot-4 senior, won the Class AA state cross country meet, breaking the tape in 17 minutes, 40.71 seconds, more than 22 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Senior took the third-place team trophy. Vladic also posted impressive finishes at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships (second) and the NXN Final (19th) to earn all-American honors.
“Tiahna is a top-notch competitor,” said Kalispell Flathead coach Jesse Rumsey. “She is an incredibly gritty athlete. The Montana women’s field for distance running is very deep, and she has pushed herself to the top.”
The Gatorade award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse.” Vladic owns a weighted 3.78 GPA and has volunteered at the Montana Marathon and as a youth running coach. She’s undecided on her college future.
Vladic joins Bigfork’s Makena Morley and Bozeman’s Heidi Turner as multiple-time winners. Morley was a four-time selection, and Turner claimed the award three times.
Bozeman’s Camila Noe won the 2017-18 award.