Daniels, the first THS runner to win the honor, led the Lady Wave to the Class 6A state championship with her first-place finish of 15 minutes, 8.5 seconds in November's state cross country meet at Mississippi College's Choctaw Trails in Clinton.
"I was shocked, especially with all the good runners in the state," the 5-foot-3 Daniels said of winning the award. "I need to keep working hard and keep getting better.
"My teammates have always been there to help me out and push me ... also the coaches."
Daniels finished third overall as a freshman at this season's annual Foot Locker South Region Championships. She placed second overall at the 2010 state meet as an eighth grader.
Qualifications for the Gatorade award are: production and impact during the season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character. Daniels has a 4.00 GPA and has volunteered as a peer tutor, at the local animal shelter and is active in her church's youth group.
"We're thrilled for her," Tupelo coach Anna Sloan said. "She had a great season. Winning state was her goal, but she continues to work hard.
"She's a great runner, a smart girl ... the whole package."
Daniels is scheduled to compete this spring for the Lady Wave track and field team. She will compete in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
"I try my hardest every day in practice," she said. "I will continue to do that."