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Bozeman Gallatin's Claire Rutherford gets second straight Gatorade cross country honor

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Posted at 10:45 AM, Jan 23, 2024

CHICAGO — For the second consecutive year, Claire Rutherford of Bozeman Gallatin is the Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Player of the Year.

Gatorade announced its award winners Monday.

Rutherford, a 5-foot-6 junior, won the award after winning the Class AA state cross country championship for the second straight season. She crossed the finish line in 18:06.58, breaking the tape 7.3 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor. Gallatin placed second as a team.

Rutherford was also the top Montana finisher at the Nike Cross Northwest Regional Championships and the Foot Locker West Regional Championships.

“Claire had another tremendous season,” Bozeman coach Casey Jermyn said in a news release. “She did battle a few injuries early on but was able to put together a great season. She seemed to really run well when it mattered most.”

Rutherford also won the Gatorade award last year, becoming the first runner from Gallatin to claim the honor.

The Gatorade award not only recognizes great athletes, but it also celebrates excellence in the classroom and community. Rutherford has maintained a weighted 4.13 GPA in the classroom and is a member of the Future Health Professionals club.

The Gatorade Boys Cross Country Player of the Year awards will be announced next week.