• 23-FEB-2022

2021-22 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year Award Winner Colin Sahlman

Newbury Park, Calif. [February 23, 2022] – In its 37th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Colin Sahlman of Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, Calif. is the 2021-22 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year. Sahlman won the prestigious award for his accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Players of the Year who have combined for 19 National Championships.

Sahlman was surprised with the trophy by his family, coaches and teammates at school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Sahlman as the nation's best high school boys cross country player. The Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others to evaluate candidates, selected Sahlman from nearly 300,000 other student-athletes who compete in boys cross country nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Sahlman topped the list of state winners in boys cross country who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 34 who joined two or more charitable organizations, 10 returning state Gatorade Players of the Year and 30 with a GPA of 4.0 and above.

“Colin Sahlman proved to be the best runner on the best cross country team in U.S. history, but there’s a lot more to his season than that,” says Doug Binder, Dyestat.com Editor-in-Chief. “His near-record run at Woodward Park at the California state meet coupled with his victory at the RunningLane Championships against the best field of the year cemented him as the nation’s best. Newbury Park’s second and third guys were right there with him on that level, but Colin managed to hold them off.”

The 5-foot-11, 125-pound senior raced to the individual national title at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships this past season with a time of 14:03.3, the fastest 5K time in US prep history, while also leading the Panthers to a national championship as a team. The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year in boys cross country, Sahlman won the Division 1 state championship in 14:26.5, helping Newbury Park capture first place as a team. He also broke the tape at the Clovis Invitational, the Marmonte League finals and the Southern Section Championships.

Sahlman has volunteered locally feeding the homeless on behalf of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. He has also donated his time as a coach for the Camarillo Cosmos Youth Track Program and as a counselor at the Mile High Running Camp in Big Bear.

Sahlman has maintained a 3.47 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on scholarship at Northern Arizona University this fall.

“Our prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year award tells the world who you are on and off the field and becomes a permanent part of your resume,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “It’s why we take the selection process so seriously, and why Colin Sahlman’s remarkable talents and character on the field, in the classroom and in his community make him the perfect fit.”

Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. In all, 608 athletes are honored each year. From the pool of state winners, one national winner is selected in each of the 12 sports.

Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Jayson Tatum, Elena Delle Donne and many other sports icons.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.







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