On January 23, 2023, Senior Grace Tyson was named Missouri Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year, which honors the nation’s best high school athletes.
Tyson is the first Missouri Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from LHS. According to Gatorade, the award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic
achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Tyson said winning this award is a big deal for her because freshman year, she didn’t even know this award existed, then, she tried to shoot her shot at it in her junior year for the title, and now as a senior, achieved her goal.
“It definitely was expected of me to try and go get it, but it was nerve-wracking because I have only four races this season, so I didn’t know if I had a shot getting the award,” Tyson said.
This year has been particularly filled with hardships for Tyson because halfway through the season, she broke her foot. Tyson was only healthy enough to race four races but with as well as support from her teammates and coach, she succeeded in her desire. Tyson is named resilient by her coach, Jill Harmon, and she said this is one of the many traits that helped Tyson overcome any challenges she faced. Harmon also said from freshman year, to now senior, Tyson has grown, mentally and physically stronger during cross country.
“Grace Tyson has been Grace Tyson since she’s been a freshman, but I have kind of seen her develop over four years, so it’s super exciting to see. Again, it’s the perfect way to cap off an awesome [high school] career and I couldn’t be more excited for her,” Harmon said.
Tyson is not stopping her running journey however and has plans for her future when it comes to cross country and academics. Tyson wants to break some school records and in the future, run at Indiana University beside her teammates. Throughout her entire high school cross-country journey, Tyson said she has learned that through hard work, anything can be achieved, even if you’re faced with obstacles.
“Being able to run at state and being able to get this award shows how even if you have a hard year, or your sport’s not going your way for a little bit of it, you can really have mental strength to get through it and still meet your goals,” Tyson said.