The Gatorade Player of the Year award is given to an exceptional athlete that not only dominates their sport, but also the classroom. Craig is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year for girls track and field that will be announced in July.
"She's one of the best athletes in the nation," Ruston track and field coach Allen Whitaker said. " She's proven that."
Whitaker knew Craig was an elite athlete during the indoor season after she almost hit six feet in high jump and won the long jump.
"That's when I knew she was a phenomenal athlete," Whitaker said. "Just behind the scenes too, seeing her everyday at practice and seeing her worth ethic – I knew she was special."
The Louisiana Tech signee has maintained a 3.45 weighted GPA while balancing coaching elementary school track and field athletes and being an active member of the Christ Temple Baptist Church youth ministry.
Since her arrival to Ruston for her senior year, Craig has helped elevate the Bearcat track and field program. The 5-foot-6 senior middle distance runner and heptathlete won the high jump (5-foot-8) , finished third in the 200-meters and fifth in the 100-meters at the LHSAA Class 5A state championship meet. Her efforts helped the Bearcats to a second-place finish.
She joined the Bearcats as the best female heptathlete in the nation, joining the best boys triple jumper in the nation B.J. Green.
"It shows that there are some good things going on at Ruston High," Whitaker said. "If you come in, compete and do what you need to do as a student-athlete you can get success. You can get recognized not only at a local stage but a statewide and national stage."
Craig wrapped up her high school career with a heptathlon bronze metal in the USATF U-20 National Championship. Her 5,388 points gave her the second best score in prep competitors across the nation this spring and No. 13 in American high school history.
"She made everyone around her step up," Whitaker said." She has a bubbly attitude, you never see her frown or get mad, she's always happy. It brought some collective joy to the program."
Before her collegiate journey at Louisiana Tech begins, Craig will join Team USA to compete in the U20 World Championship in Cali, Colombia in August.
This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Ruston's Bryanna Craig is the LA Gatorade girls track and field POTY