Homewood senior Lainey Phelps has been named the 2019-20 Gatorade Alabama Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year.
It’s the second time Phelps has earned the award in her high school career. She also received the award as a freshman in 2017.
Last fall, Phelps won the Class 6A individual title by clocking 18:14.7 at the AHSAA Cross County Championships while leading the Patriots to their second straight team title. She also won the 6A, Section 3 title and took home individual titles at the Southern Showcase, Chickasaw Trails Invitational and Husky Challenge.
“I don’t know if any other runner in the state has had the setbacks that Lainey has experienced and come back with such determination and perseverance to reach such a high level,” Homewood coach Josh Donaldson said in a news release about the award. “She gives everything she has to each task she sets her mind to.”
The Gatorade award honors a player who blends athletic excellence with high standards of academic achievement and has “exemplary character.”
Phelps, a Vanderbilt signee, maintains a 4.23 GPA, according to the news release, is active in her church and has volunteered on behalf of her school’s peer helpers program and the Bell Center for Early Intervention Services.
Phelps is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February.
Carr Awarded Again
Mountain Brook senior Grace Carr was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Alabama Volleyball Player of the Year.
It’s the second consecutive year she has received the honor, joining her older sister Sara as the only Mountain Brook players to be recognized for the award. Sara Carr was selected as the state’s best volleyball player in both 2014 and 2015.
Grace Carr, the 2019 Over The Mountain Journal Player of the Year, led the Spartans to a 59-7 record and the Class 7A state championship last fall. She was MVP in the state tournament.
A 5-foot-10-inch outside hitter, Carr amassed 713 kills, 583 digs, 86 aces and 53 blocks this season.
“Grace Carr is an outstanding volleyball player,” Vestavia Hills coach Mandy Burgess said in a news release about the Gatorade award. “She’s versatile with a powerful shot, but she can also finesse the ball. She plays with poise and she’s mentally strong.”
In the classroom Carr, who is headed to Auburn University, has maintained an ‘A’ average, carrying a 4.47 GPA and scoring 34 on the ACT. She is a member of her church’s youth ministry along with volunteering locally on behalf of a homeless shelter and youth volleyball programs.
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 and field. It also awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
—Rubin E. Grant