Cane Ridge scholar-athlete wins statewide honor, is a finalist for national one

What a school year for Cane Ridge scholar-athlete Bailee Dean! First she won the state championship in cross country, now she's been named one of the country's top high school athletes by Gatorade and USA Today. Bailee is the Gatorade Tennessee Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, which makes her a finalist for the NATIONAL Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award.

She didn't just earn this honor because she's fast (although she is very fast), she's also a great student. She carries a 3.71 GPA, is a member of FCA and HOSA, and volunteers in the community.

From Gatorade:

In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Bailee Dean of Cane Ridge High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Dean is the first Gatorade Tennessee Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Cane Ridge High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Dean as Tennessee’s best high school girls cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Dean joins an elite alumni association of past state awardwinners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-4 junior raced to the Class AAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:08.4. The 2013 Tennessean All-Midstate Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Dean was the fastest Tennessee competitor at the 2013 Foot Locker South Regional championships, clocking a 17:51 to cross the line in 23rd place.

Dean has maintained a 3.71 GPA in the classroom. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Health Occupations Students of America, she has volunteered locally at an area nursing home and as a junior ambassador at her school’s Academy of Health Management.

“Bailee Dean is a unique individual who can amaze you with what she is capable of achieving both academically and athletically,” said Cane Ridge High head coach Corene Minchin. “Her determination for success is among the top one percent of anyone I have ever met, yet she is still humble.”

Dean will begin her senior year of high school 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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Dean joins Gatorade Tennessee Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Barbara Lee Ball (2012-13, Lipscomb Academy), Haley Ward (2011-12, McMinn County High School), Joanna Thompson (2010-11, Knoxville Catholic High School), Megan Ferowich (2009-10, Knoxville Catholic), and Kathy Kroeger (2008-09 & 2007-08, Independence) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit