Gatorade recently announced their state-by-state winners of the 2023 Player of the Year awards for cross country with Onalaska Junior Manny Putz and Northland Pines Junior Nora Gremban collecting the honor for Wisconsin. Both Putz and Gremban were state champions this past cross country season.
Putz a junior, powered across the line to take fifth at Nike Cross Nationals Final this past season, clocking a time of 15:23.1 to earn First Team All-America honors. Putz, a two-time Gatorade award winner, also won the Division 1 state meet for a second successive season, recording the fastest all-class time of the day. He won seven of his 10 races last fall and his 14:32.1 at the NXR Heartland meet, where he took silver, was a personal best.
Putz will be the top returning runner from Nike Cross Nationals next year with the four finishers above him graduating. He also ranks as the #2 returner nationally for 2024 by time, just behind Robert Mechura who edged Putz out at the Heartland regional.
Putz Breaks Record but Comes up Just Short
Gremban a senior and University of Wisconsin commit, took third at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional Championships this past season, crossing the line in 17:15.60 to qualify for the NXN Final as the state's top prep girl at the event. Gremban won the WIAA Division 2 state meet, breaking the tape in an all-class best time of 17:46.7. She also raced to victory at the Great Northern Conference Meet with a personal best clocking of 17:06.60.
Her time of 17:06.60 is the #2 5K time all-time in Wisconsin, only behind Lauren Pansegrau who clocked a time of 16:57.98 back in 2021.