Jamestown High School sophomore Meghan Ford has been selected 2018-19 Gatorade North Dakota Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Ford was presented with the award during a pep rally held at the high school on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The award, which recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character, qualifies Ford as a finalist for the national Gatorade award in the sport of girls cross country, which will be announced in February.

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Ford is the defending Class A girls cross country state champion, winning at her hometown course at Parkhurst Recreation Area last October in 17 minutes, 56.9 seconds. Ford placed 16th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships and 17th at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional championships.

Ford has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has volunteered locally on behalf of the Salvation Army, Operation Christmas Child, a Vacation Bible School and suicide-prevention initiatives.

"Meghan Ford proves that hard work and dedication can lead to great accomplishments," Jamestown coach Ken Gardner said in a press release. "Ever since she joined the team as a seventh-grader, she has put the time in, both in season and offseason. The result has been a consistent rise in the ranks of elite runners in the state."

As part of Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Ford has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or youth sports organization of her choosing. Ford has chosen Two Rivers Activities Center in Jamestown to receive this grant, according to a Wednesday post made on the center's Facebook page.

Ford is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.