Devyn Keith of John Curtis named 2014-15 Gatorade Louisiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--John Curtis cross-country runner Devyn Keith is the Advocate's Cross Country Athlete of the Year in River Ridge, La. Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

Devyn Keith of John Curtis was named 2014-15 Gatorade Louisiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the year. Keith is the first Gatorade Louisiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from John Curtis Christian School.

Keith, a junior, s now a finalist for the Gatorade Natioanl Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

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.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior raced to a second consecutive Class 3A individual state championship with a time of 15:58.10 this past season, leading the Patriots to the state title as a team. Keith captured 11th place at the Nike Cross Nationals South Regional championships in 16:03.84. In addition to finishing unbeaten against Louisiana prep cross country competitors in 2014, he clocked a 14:53.26 at Saint Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High’s Rollette Invitational, which ranked as the state’s fastest three-mile time of the season.

Keith has maintained a 3.0 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s student council, spirit club and poetry club as well as a columnist for the student newspaper, he has volunteered as a youth running instructor, as part of Rotary International’s Interact club and on behalf of his church.

“Apart from being the best distance runner in the state, his level of intensity and seriousness that he brings with him to race always impressed me,” said Dawson McCall, head coach of rival Lusher Charter School. “He seems always ready to race and is a tenacious competitor.”

Keith joins Gatorade Louisiana Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Zachary Albright (2013-14, Saint Paul's School), Enrique Soto (2012-13, Lakeside High School), Cole Stafford (2011-12, Catholic High School), Matthew Rice (2010-11, Runnels High School), Philip Primeaux (2009-10 & 2008-09, Catholic), and Philipp Goettert (2007-08, Baton Rouge Magnet) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.