Natalie Cook Wins Gatorade Texas Girls Player Of The Year

Natalie Cook at the starting line of the 1,600m of the 2022 UIL State Track and Field Championships

Photo Credit: Chance Kirby/MileSplit

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Gatorade named Flower Mound senior Natalie Cook their girls Player of the Year for the 2022 Texas track and field season. She becomes the first Texas girl to win this award for both cross country and track and field. In the fall, she won both the state and national award for cross country.

This is the 37th year of Gatorade recognizing the best athletes in the country in each sport with the Player of the Year award. Athletic performance is a major component of the award, but academic achievement and exemplary character must also be demonstrated to win the award.

Cook's season was impressive. She ran 9:44.44 to win the New Balance Nationals Indoor two-mile championship, which was the second fastest all-time mark by an American high school distance runner. She also anchored the Flower Mound 4 x Mile relay team to a national championship and a national record crushing performance of 19:40.67.

During the outdoor season, Cook won both the 1,600m and 3,200m at the 2022 UIL 6A Track and Field Championships. Her times (4:40.29 and 9:48.25) were both UIL state meet records. The 9:48.25 was also the all-time No. 2 high school mark; at the UIL Region 1-6A Championships, she ran 3:36.96 for Texas No. 1 all-time and US No. 5 all-time performance.

Cook also ran the 5,000m distance this outdoor season at the Stanford Invitational. She finished third behind two professional runners and in front of many more as well as collegiates; she clocked a 15:25.93 for national record.

The senior contributed to the Flower Mound UIL 6A team championship making them the first school in Texas' largest classification to win both girls cross country and track championships in the same season.

Cook will enroll at Oklahoma State University where she will compete in cross country in the fall.