Herriman High runner named Gatorade Cross Country Player of the YearFeb 22, 2022 08:50PM ● By Justin Adams
Addi Bruening poses with her new trophy recognizing her as the Gatorade Utah Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Diana Bruening)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Herriman High senior Addi Bruening was named the Gatorade Utah Girls Cross Country Player of the Year last month.
The award followed an impressive senior season campaign which ended with Bruening placing first at the state meet with a time of 17:28:3.
“I went into the season having won the 1600 and 3200 in track and it was my senior year, so I was really hoping to be able to win state,” Bruening told the Herriman Journal. “You never know what to expect going into the season, but I did a lot better than I ever hoped I could.”
Her final time was so fast that it broke a state record… sort of.
“According to her coach who asked other coaches, no other Utah high school girl runner who has run a 5K in Utah has ever run a faster time,” explained her mother Diana. “There have been girls who go to meets out of state, and because of the elevation, they have run a faster time.”
It’s not the only record she’s set in the state of Utah. Last spring, she broke the state record for the 3200-meter race at the state track and field meet.
For this upcoming track season, she has her eyes set on breaking the record for the mile. She’s run a five-minute mile before (and beat the time of the state record) but never in an official race.
So where does her talent for running come from?
Some of it is natural. Her father ran track for a year. Her mom won a district championship in cross country when she was in middle school. (Though Addi has taken a look at her mom’s times and teasingly concluded that she was actually pretty slow.) She showed natural speed in elementary school, beating neighborhood friend and future local girls football star Sam Gordon in a footrace. She then got involved in a cross country program run by a local recreation center, where she finished third in her first race.
As she grew older and started running at the high school level, Addi’s athletic development became all about her dedication.
“When Addi has a goal, she just laser focuses and goes for it. Waking up at five in the morning to run in 12 degrees. She just does whatever it takes,” her mom said.
Her father, Ari, recalled a time after one cross country meet when she stayed on the field afterward to run some more.
“Everyone was gone and the lights were off, but she was still there running around the track because she needed to get in more miles for the week,” he said.
Even when their family goes on vacation, Addi doesn’t skip a day of training.
“We do long road trips in the summer, and she’s not willing to take a day off from running. So we’ll be in the middle of Kansas or something, and we have to get up in the morning and go for a run. She’s probably run in 30 states,” Ari said.
“There are definitely days that I don’t feel like running,” Addi said. “But it’s grown to be mandatory for me. I just have to do it.”
That level of self-discipline has also served Addi well in the classroom, as she has maintained a 3.9 GPA despite taking numerous honors and AP courses.
Following her senior year, Addi will head down to Provo to attend BYU, her childhood dream school. She’ll be running for the Cougars’ cross country team, which won the national championship last year, and came in second this year. She’s looking forward to the challenge of competing at the college level, especially for what is one of the strongest programs in the country at the moment.
“It’s crazy to think about, I’m used to being the fastest, so it’ll be nice to have girls who are faster than me, who can push me,” she said.