In its 39th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Rory Sullivan of Saint Raphael Academy is the 2023-24 Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Sullivan is the first Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Saint Raphael Academy. The award, which celebrates the nation’s top high school athletes for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Sullivan as Rhode Island’s best high school girls cross country player.
The 5-foot-8 senior won the state meet with a time of 18:08.79, breaking the tape 9.51 seconds ahead of her next- closest competitor and leading the Saints to a seventh-place finish as a team. Sullivan also won the Class C State Meet by more than a minute and she was the only Rhode Islander to qualify for a national championship race after her sixth-place finish at the Nike Cross Northeast Regional Championships.
A member of the Moore Scholars program at Saint Raphael Academy, Sullivan and a classmate designed and produced a 3D-printed object to assist disabled children when getting into a vehicle. She is the vice president of her school’s Climate Club and has volunteered locally at a soup kitchen and as a mentor for youth runners. “Rory is a very talented runner and has a strong work ethic,” said Amy Noecker, head coach of Mount Saint Charles Academy. “Watching her during the championship meets, you could see that she always remained confident and in control at all times. She had a mission each race and it was always well executed out on the trails.”
Sullivan has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on scholarship at Furman University 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Sullivan joins other recent Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Cross Country Players of the Year from SRA, including Devan Kipyego (cross country 2022-2023 and 2021-2022, track and field 2021-2022), Moses Meus (football, 2022-2023), Darius Kipyego (track and field 2020-2021 and 2019-2020) and Amaya Dowdy (basketball 2020-2021).
As part of Gatorade’s commitment to breaking down barriers in sport, every Player of the Year also receives a grant to donate to a social impact partner. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $4.9 million across more than 1,600 organizations.