ORONO, Maine — Orono High School’s Tia Tardy, who led the Red Riots to their third straight Class C girls cross-country state championship last fall, has been named the 2015-16 Gatorade Maine runner of the year.

Tardy, a junior who transferred to Orono from Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln last fall, was undefeated against Maine competition for coach Lin White’s Red Riots.

Tardy was the top in-state finisher at the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions, then won the Penobscot Valley Conference individual title and the Class C North championship while leading Orono to conference and regional team crowns.

She followed that up by winning the Class C state championship race with a time of 19 minutes, 43.81 seconds, to pace a 1-2-3 finish by the Red Riots that also featured classmates Hannah Steelman and Kassidy Dill.

Tardy went on to place 12th at the New England championships, where Orono’s 10th-place team finish was the best by a Maine squad regardless of class.

Tardy is the first Orono runner to win the state’s Gatorade girls cross-country honor, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the race course.

Tardy also has maintained an ‘A’ average in the classroom. The co-founder of the Lincoln Lakes Track Club, she has volunteered locally as part of area beautification projects and with multiple fundraising campaigns to benefit diabetes research.

“Watching Tia Tardy run, she is clearly a driven competitor who is all business when it comes to racing,” said Boothbay coach Nick Scott. “She is an intelligent racer who starts a race under control and

finishes strong.”

Tardy joins Katherine Leggat-Barr (2014-15, Greely of Cumberland Center), Kirstin Sandreuter (2013-14, Greely), Bethanie Brown (2012-13, Waterville), Abbey Leonardi (2011-12, 2010-11, 2009-10 & 2008-09, Kennebunk) and Anna Makaretz (2007-08) as athletes who have been named Gatorade Maine Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year since the award’s inception in 2007.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...