First Baptist's Gabrielle Jennings wins Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year award _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --First Baptist's Gabrielle Jennings wins the Class C Girls 800 Meter Run during the State Class B-C track meet Thursday.

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Gatorade and USA TODAY High School Sports have named Gabrielle Jennings of First Baptist Christian School as the 2015-16 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Jennings is the first student to win this award in the school’s history, Gatorade said in a news release Thursday.

The award recognizes “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse,” the news release said.

Jennings is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

Jennings has signed a national letter of intent to run on an athletic scholarship at South Carolina’s Furman University this fall.