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Johnston Runner Named Gatorade Player of the Year

Posted January 08, 2015 in Community Web Exclusives, Johnston

(submitted by Gatorade)

CHICAGO (January 8, 2015) —In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Jordyn Kleve of Johnston High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade Iowa Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Kleve is the first Gatorade Iowa Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Johnston High School. She is the third Johnston student-athlete to be given the honor, joining Quinn Sypniewski (football, 1999-2000) and Sam Graving (Boys Soccer, 2013-14).

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 Kleve as Iowa’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 January, Kleve joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-4 senior earned All-American honors this past season by placing 15th at the Nike Cross Nationals Final with a time of 17:54. Kleve also finished sixth at the NXN Heartland Regional championships in a personal-best 17:39.3. The winner of the Heartland Classic and Fort Dodge Cross Country Invitational, Kleve placed second at the Class 4A state meet with a time of 14:14 over the 4-kilometer course, leading Johnston to the state championship as a team.

Kleve has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Council on Youth Leadership, she has volunteered locally with an elementary school literacy-outreach program and as a youth track and cross country coach.

“What makes Jordyn such a talented runner is her fierce determination and desire to do whatever it takes to maximize the potential with which she has been blessed,” said Patrick Hennes, head coach of the Johnston High School girls cross country team. “The training necessary to perform at her level requires self-discipline to which most individuals are simply unwilling to commit. There are no short cuts in distance running.”

Kleve has signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country on an athletic scholarship at the University of Missouri this fall. 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.

The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Kleve joins Gatorade Iowa Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Rebekah Topham
(2013-14 & 2011-12, Griswold High School), Anna Holdiman (2012-13, Waverly-Shell Rock High School), Shelby Houlihan (2010-11, East High School), Katie Flood (2009-10 & 2007-08, Dowling Catholic), and Ashlie Decker(2008-09, Dowling Catholic) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit 

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