Montana Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Kylie Hartnett, has awarded the Helena Novas youth cross country and track and field program with a $1,000 Gatorade Play It Forward grant to help further the club’s mission.
Helena Novas, the youth component of Helena Vigilante Runners, strives to develop individual athletic skills, foster personal growth, improve health and wellness, and pursue competitive cross country and track and field in an optimal training environment. And to ensure the club is accessible to as many children as possible, the Novas go above and beyond to keep registration costs low.
Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Gatorade Play It Forward empowers Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants, so they can continue helping young athletes enjoy the benefit of sports.
“The Gatorade Player of the Year award highlights student-athletes who set an example both on and off the field” said Amanda Turak, Assistant Marketing Manager for Gatorade Player of the Year. “The grants give these athletes a chance to donate to organizations like, Helena Novas, that positively impact the youth in their own communities.”
Hartnett, a sophomore at Helena High, won the Class AA girls cross country championship, then placed 10th at the Nike Cross Northwest Regional representing the Novas to qualify for Nike Cross Nationals, where she finished 62nd. Hartnett’s performances guided her Bengals team to third place at state and the Novas to 13th place and NXR. She has competed for the Novas since 2017 in both cross country and track and field.
“Kylie has been a key part of the Novas and she serves as an incredible mentor to the program’s younger athletes,” Helena Novas director and coach Jesse Zentz said. “She just completed one of the most incredible high school cross country seasons in state history as a member of the Helena High Bengals, and we’re truly honored that she chose this program to support through Gatorade’s Play It Forward initiative. Thank you Kylie and thank you Gatorade.”
All 607 Gatorade State Player of the Year recipients are awarded a grant to donate to the organization of their choosing. Each Player of the Year can also submit an essay about why their organization is deserving of a Spotlight Grant, which is a larger monetary award. Gatorade awards 12 Spotlight Grants, one for each sport recognized by the Player of the Year program.
To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow the conversation on Twitter #GatoradePOY. For more on Gatorade Play It Forward, the Gatorade Player of the Year, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit PlayerOfTheYear.Gatorade.com/
About Gatorade Player of the Year
The Gatorade Player of the Year is an athletic award program that annually recognizes student-athletes not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character in 12 different sports: football, boys and girls basketball, baseball, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls track & field, girls volleyball and boys and girls cross country. The Gatorade Player of the Year award is the most prestigious award in high school sports. In existence for more than 30 years, past winners include Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. Play It Forward is Gatorade’s cause marketing platform, which empowers every one of the Gatorade Player of the Year award winners to choose a local or national youth sport organization to receive a $1,000 grant from Gatorade. Gatorade State Players of the Year then have the opportunity to submit an essay explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve Spotlight Grants, which awards $10,000 to the organization.
About Helena Novas XC & TF
Helena Novas, a USA Track & Field member club, offers competitive youth cross country and youth track and field programs for Helena-area residents between the ages of 7 and 18. Our track and field program supports athletes in all events – sprints, distance running, hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault (new in 2020), shot put, discus and javelin. Our mission is to develop individual athletic skills, foster personal growth, improve health and wellness, and pursue competitive cross country and track and field in an optimal training environment. To ensure the club is accessible to as many children as possible, we go above and beyond to keep registration costs low. Registered athletes are allowed to join practices only after their school-based seasons conclude. We strive to provide athletes with qualified and positive coaching that will help them develop their skills in a safe and supportive environment. All Novas coaches volunteer their time and are SafeSport certified. While we work hard to help our athletes develop, we also encourage the same growth for our coaches. Four Novas coaches have achieved at least Level 1 certification from USA Track & Field, and we strongly support continued education.
Helena Vigilante Runners
The Helena Vigilante Runners, Inc. (HVR) is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that incorporated with the State of Montana on January 22, 2009. The club serves as the umbrella group for Helena’s diverse community of runners, which includes trail runners, track athletes, triathletes, and fitness enthusiasts. It is the successor to the Helena Running Club, which began organizing many of Helena’s premier running events in 1997. HVR’s purpose is to promote health, fitness, and community through group training runs, races, and social events in the greater Helena area.