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Estero's Katy Solis, 18, is the 2012 girls cross country athlete of the year. She fell into the sport because she wanted to condition and train for soccer in 8th grade. Admittedly, 'fell in love with it.' The rest is history. The past four years she's finished in the top 20 or higher, peaking at a runner-up title in November. She set a personal best with a time of 17:58.70, 10 seconds off the leader and finally outrunning friend and teammate Kacy Smith by 12 tenths of a second. Most important she lead her team to a third consecutive state title. At 5' 9' she's not your typical long distance runner. She works harder than most and has been told a 'longer stride than a couple of boys on the team.' She's verbally committed to the University of Mississippi next fall on scholarship where she plans to become a pediatrician. 'Size doesn't matter. It's the size of your heart,' Solis said. 'Because it takes heart to be a champion.'

Photo by COREY PERRINE

Corey Perrine/Staff Photo Illustration Estero's Katy Solis, 18, is the 2012 girls cross country athlete of the year. She fell into the sport because she wanted to condition and train for soccer in 8th grade. Admittedly, "fell in love with it." The rest is history. The past four years she's finished in the top 20 or higher, peaking at a runner-up title in November. She set a personal best with a time of 17:58.70, 10 seconds off the leader and finally outrunning friend and teammate Kacy Smith by 12 tenths of a second. Most important she lead her team to a third consecutive state title. At 5' 9" she's not your typical long distance runner. She works harder than most and has been told a "longer stride than a couple of boys on the team." She's verbally committed to the University of Mississippi next fall on scholarship where she plans to become a pediatrician. "Size doesn't matter. It's the size of your heart," Solis said. "Because it takes heart to be a champion."

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