Another BYU-bound runner has been crowned a national champion.
Timpview High's Aidan Troutner, who went undefeated this past season and won the prestigious Nike meet, was named Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
"It’s amazing," Troutner said after family, friends and teammates surprised him with the trophy at his home Tuesday afternoon.
"Just all those people that came before me — LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Casey Clinger, who I knew really well — it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with those guys. We should all strive to get to that point. I'm just excited that all these things have come together to culminate to this point."
Troutner plans on serving an LDS mission after high school before competing for the Cougars. He will join Clinger, a former American Fork standout runner and two-time national champion, at BYU when he returns.
James (2002 and '03) and Bryant (1996) were Gatorade national basketball players of the year. Awards are also given for girls cross country and basketball, baseball, football, soccer, track and field, and volleyball.
A 5-foot-9, 123-pound senior, Troutner used the disappointment of just missing out on qualifying for the Nike Cross Country Nationals in 2017 as motivation to train harder after his junior year.
The Class 5A champion saved his best for last, surging from fourth place to first in the final 600 meters of the NXN race. Troutner finished in 15 minutes, 03.83 seconds, edging Tennessee runner Brodey Hasty (15:05.88) and California's Liam Anderson (15:07.54).
"I didn’t qualify for NXN last year by one spot,” Troutner said. "Every single day this summer, I had that in the back of my mind. Keep pushing so I could get here."
Some of Troutner's highlights leading up to the national championship included wins at the Nike final at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon; a NXN Southwest Regional championship; and first-place finishes at the Highland Invitational, the BYU Autumn Classic, the Nebo Invitational and the Region 7 championships.
Troutner, an Eagle Scout, has also excelled in the classroom, maintaining a 3.89 GPA at the Provo school.