Orono High School junior standout cross country runner Tia Tardy was recently named the 2015 Gatorade Maine Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Tardy, a transfer student from Mattanawcook Academy this past fall, joined an already powerful Cross Country program at Orono High School and led the Red Riot girls to another Class C State Championship in the most recent fall season.

The Gatorade Company in conjunction with USA Today High School Sports has been awarding the United State’s top high school athletes in a variety of sports for 31 years in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In total. 12 high school sports award winners are named each year in these following sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field.

In this past fall’s high school Cross country season, Tardy was undefeated against all in-state runners with wins at the PVC and North Regional competitions. She also won the Class C State meet with her time of 19:43.81 minutes and was the top finisher amongst all Classes at the Maine State Championship Meet. Following the Maine States, Tardy competed with her Orono teammates at the New England championships, where Tardy finished in 12th place overall while the Orono squad had its highest-ever 10th place team finish.

The Gatorade award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse. Tardy has maintained an A average in the Orono classrooms while also using her gifted talents in the school’s drama and music programs.

Orono athletic administrator Mike Archer has high praise for Tardy’s contributions to the Orono High School community.


“Tia hasn’t been with us long, but has made a huge impression and impact on our school and programs,” said Archer. “She has a smile on her face every day and has such a positive attitude with her teammates and classmates. She may be the most focused and driven athlete that I have been around in my sixteen years as an AD. Her talents go well beyond athletics as she is gifted in music and drama also.”

“Her junior cross country season and the Gatorade Runner of the Year Award is a fine example of what focus, determination, and hard work will do,” added Archer. “She will also be the first one to admit that this would not have been as satisfying without the her teammates making her better every day.”

Orono High School cross country coach Lin White also spoke about Tardy and her accomplishments.

“Even with a team focus, Tia’s accomplishments truly stand out during the season,” said White. “With multiple individual victories, the fastest 5K time in the Sate, her first individual State Championship, and as the first Maine finisher, placing 12th, at New Englands, she continued to be a positive, enthusiastic, and humble competitor that was embraced by both her teammates and competitors from other schools.”

“She was a joy to coach and work with every day of the season and enabled our program to reach new heights,” added White.

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