For the second consecutive year, Abby Faith Cheeseman, a sophomore at The Webb School, was named 2022-2023 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade made the announcement Jan. 23.
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 Cheeseman as Tennessee’s best high school girls cross country player. She is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award.
The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year, Cheeseman won the Division 2A state meet for the third consecutive season with a time of 17:12.53, leading the Feet to a second-place finish as a team. Cheeseman also won the Frank Horton “Night” Classic and the Jesse Owens Classic in Alabama. She took seventh at the Champs Sports South Regional in North Carolina, before improving by more than a minute from her 2021 race at nationals to finish fourth at the Champs Sports National Championships.
Cheeseman was one of only three sophomores to be recognized as an Alla Webb Scholar, the highest academic honor society at her school, and leads middle school Bible study meetings.
“Abby Faith Cheeseman ran 17:13.4, which is the fastest time ever by a Tennessee prep girl at Balboa Park in San Diego at the Champs Sports National Championships,” said Erik Boal, an editor for DyeStat.com. “She also won her third straight state title, clocking the second-fastest girls time in history on the state meet course in the process.”
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, 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.
Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.