The folks at Gatorade know talent when they see it.
Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie High School has been named the Iowa Gatorade Cross Country Player of the Year once again. Hostetler claims the honor for the third time and keeps a string of four straight going for the Hostetler family as her sister, Anna, was the cross country player of the year in 2016. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction cross-country.
“Winning the Iowa Gatorade Cross-Country Player of the Year is an honor and a fun achievement to have,” Marie Hostetler said.
Hostetler’s individual wins helped lead the Golden Hawks to Class 2A state titles in 2018 and 2019. They were second in 2017.
Hostetler won her third consecutive individual cross-country title last fall. She was ranked first throughout the season in Class 2A and backed up that ranking with a large win at state. She finished more than 41 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 17 minutes, 58 seconds. She holds the record (regardless of class) at the state meet of 17:51, set when she was a sophomore. She placed second as a freshman behind sister Anna with a time of 18:15. Her winning time last year was 18:02. She won the state qualifier by 1:51 over second place.
The announcement brought some cheer for her as she was unable to compete during her senior track season, a sport she dominated as a junior.
Hostetler very nearly was a Class 2A state quadruple-winner last year. Hostetler captured the 3,000- and 1,500-meter races and anchored the Golden Hawks’ victorious distance medley relay.
Her only setback was in the 800-meter run, in which she was edged by Aplington-Parkersburg’s Sophia Jungling.
Hostetler has accumulated five state track titles (three in individual events, two in relays), plus five second-place finishes (three in which she finished behind older sister Anna), a third and a fifth.
“I think she has struggled some with missing her senior year of track and also has a hard time with other responsibilities also,” said her cross-country coach and father Mark Hostetler.
“It is very disappointing to not get to see the results of what I have worked so hard for, and to not get the chance to finish my senior year well, and I miss my teammates and the friendly competition,” Marie Hostetler said. “But I think that I have grown as an athlete and learned from this as well. The season was God’s from the beginning anyway, and I trust that He will use this time for good and His glory. The support from the community and parents has been incredible!”
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
A Liberty University signee, Hostetler will add to that list of successful college athletes.