Published January 10. 2013 4:00PM Updated January 10. 2013 4:17PM
Norwich — Brianna Lenehan of Norwich Free Academy, the Eastern Connecticut Conference, Class LL and State Open girls' cross country champion in the fall, was named Gatorade Connecticut Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year on Thursday.
Lenehan, who will compete next year at Columbia University, won the State Open on Nov. 4 at Wickham Park in Manchester, finishing the 3.1-mile race in 19 minutes, 9 seconds, three seconds ahead of RHAM's Chrissy Bendzinski.
Lenehan won the ECC meet on Oct. 18 at Norwich Golf Course in 19:39 and took the Class LL state championship on Oct. 27 at Wickham in 18:51. She went on to finish ninth in New England.
"Brianna was phenomenal this year," NFA coach Kara Kochanski-Vendola said in a press release. "She was very focused on what she had to do to be successful and she put in so much hard work, not just in season, but all summer."
Also a nationally-ranked Irish step dancer, Lenehan has maintained a 3.91 grade point average, as well as volunteering locally at running events and toy drives for underprivileged children. She will now be a finalist for the national Gatorade honor to be announced later this month.
Named The Day's All-Area Cross Country Athlete of the Year in December, Lenehan is the first Gatorade winner in girls' cross country from NFA.