Carter Coughlin Named Gatorade Tennessee Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year

Coughlin is second Webb student-athlete to receive Gatorade state award this year
In its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, the Gatorade Company announced today that Webb School of Knoxville senior cross country and track & field phenom Carter Coughlin has been named 2017-2018 Gatorade Tennessee Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year, making him the first Gatorade Tennessee Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year in the history of Webb’s cross country program. Coughlin is the second Webb student-athlete to receive the Gatorade award this year; in January, senior Lady Spartan Nicklin Hames was selected as 2017- 2018 Gatorade Tennessee Volleyball Player of the Year.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Coughlin as Tennessee’s best high school boys’ cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced later this month, Coughlin joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-2011, 2009-2010, Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-2010, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-2009, Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Donn Cabral (2007-2008, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-2008, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).

The 5-foot-10, 120-pound senior won his third straight Division II-Class A state meet this past season with a time of 15:47.1, breaking the tape one minute and 15.65 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor and leading his Spartans to a fourth-place team finish. Coughlin took fifth at the Foot Locker South Regional championships and then earned All-American status with a 15th-place finish at Foot Locker nationals. He won six of nine races on the season, including three-peats at both KIL (breaking the KIL course record) and region, in addition to his third consecutive individual state crown.

Ranked in the top 20 on the national leaderboard and recipient of Webb’s Spartan Award, Coughlin has posted 16 high school cross country career victories to his name and holds the Webb School record for boys’ cross country (5K - 14:57.58). He is also a three-time PrepXtra Runner of the Year recipient and a multiple PrepXtra and All-KIL honoree, and last year, he was selected as News Sentinel’s Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Additionally, Coughlin is a powerhouse on the track, winning gold in both the 3200 and 1600-meter races at last year’s Division II state track & field championships. He also owns the school record in both distances (3200 - 9:20.24/1600 - 4:15.95).

“While it may be true that Carter possesses a lot of natural ability, he earned every one of his accolades through years of dedication and training,” said Bobby Holcombe, Webb head varsity cross country and track & field coach. “He has trusted the process and has become a great student of the sport.”

Coughlin, who signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country at Wake Forest University, is a National Merit Commended Student, an AP Scholar with Distinction and captain of this year’s boys’ cross-country team. Coughlin has maintained a weighted 4.59 GPA in the classroom and is editor of Webb’s Princeps yearbook. He participated in a service trip to Dominica where he completed biological research in the rainforest and the Caribbean Sea, and has volunteered locally with Water Angels, a ministry that serves the homeless.

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 works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Coughlin will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. Twelve spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.

Coughlin and Hames join the prestigious ranks of several former Spartan student-athletes who were named Gatorade state award winners. Lady Spartan Glory Johnson ’08 earned Gatorade Tennessee Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008, while Faith Dupree ’09 received Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year kudos her senior year. In addition, Spartan defensive back Todd Kelly Jr. ’14 was a 2013 Gatorade Tennessee Football Player of the Year.