By Henry M. Holden
In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, recently announced Abby Loveys, a Randolph High School senior, as its 2018-19 Gatorade New Jersey Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Loveys is the first Gatorade New Jersey Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Randolph High School.
“I felt humbled and honored because there are so many good runners in Randolph High School,” said Loveys. “I started running in third grade and I just grew to love it. The program and the coaches were just great,” said Loveys.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Loveys as New Jersey’s best high school girls’ cross-country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February, Loveys joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports,
The 5-foot-6 senior raced to victory at the state Meet of Champions this past season with a time of 17:54.
A devoted member of her St. Matthew’s church community, Loveys has volunteered locally on behalf of a soup kitchen, homeless shelters and youth track clinics. “Getting involved in my church is just another cool thing to do,” said Loveys.
Her coach is also impressed with her performance. “Abby had one of the best seasons ever by a New Jersey runner,” said Randolph coach Kevin Higgins. “She’s very focused, mentally tough, and she’s the last to leave practice every day. It was really gratifying to see it all come together for her.”
“Cross country came to me more naturally,” said Loveys. “I guess as I grew, I became more serious. I like to get involved in things outside of running. I was in soccer and lacrosse when I was younger. They had that same endurance factor as cross-country running. I think the longer I go the better I am.
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.
Loveys is also a winner academically. She has maintained a weighted 4.22 GPA in the classroom. She explained,’ there are other regular courses and then there are advanced placement courses a level up from honors classes. The weighted factor is what you are doing in the honors courses and advanced placement work.”
Loveys will attend Princeton University this fall, where she will compete in cross country and track and field.