The accolades for a pair of Judge Memorial Catholic High School cross country runners continue to pile up.

This past week Luke Puskedra and Hailey Knettles were named the 2007-08 Gatorade Cross Country Runners of the Year, the first year Gatorade has presented the award for cross country.

The award is intended to honor those athletes who excel on and off the field, and Puskedra and Knettles definitely fit that criteria.

Puskedra won the 3A individual title last fall with a time of 14:54, easily distancing himself from his closest competitor by a time of 1:20. He set six different course records during the 2007 season.

On the national scene, Puskedra finished fifth at the 2007 national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships with a time of 15:15. The Judge senior also maintains a 3.6 GPA and was named Utah's Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year earlier in 2007.

Puskedra has verbally committed to the University of Oregon.

"Besides that Foot Locker regional course, every race he ran was a new course record, that's the coolest thing from this season," said Judge coach Mattie Reed. "People started talking about him last spring, and he just keeps getting better and better, stronger and faster."

Like her Judge teammate, Knettles also won the 3A state title this year finishing with a time of 18:25, 22 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.

At the girls Foot Locker Western Regional, Knettles finished in 54th place. She maintains a 3.77 GPA and has verbally committed to University of Portland.

FINAL RANKING: With National Signing Day just a few weeks away (Feb. 6), Rise Magazine recently published its final list of the top 100 high school football recruits in the class of 2008, with Cottonwood's Lynn Katoa checking in at No. 50.

Katoa has already verbally committed to Colorado University.

STATS ON THE WEB: Boys and girls basketball coaches, don't forget to e-mail your stats — assists, rebounds and steals — to the Deseret Morning News at [email protected] every Monday. These stats will be published in Tuesday's newspaper for the remainder of the high school basketball season.

NEW PREP BLOG: Each day on the Deseret Morning News Web site one of our prep writers will discuss high school sports issues. Make sure to check it out and weigh in on the discussion.


E-mail: [email protected]