Gatorade® National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year: Edward Cheserek

  Gatorade® National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year: Edward Cheserek

Professional Distance Runner Dathan Ritzenhein Surprises Standout with Elite

PR Newswire

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 23, 2013

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --In its 28^th year of honoring the
nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration
with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Edward Cheserek of St.
Benedicts Preparatory School (Newark, N.J.) as its 2012-13 Gatorade National
Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Cheserek was surprised with the news
at school by three-time USA 12K Cross Country championDathan Ritzenhein, who
earned Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors in
1999-00 and 2000-01.

"When I received the award, it was a really significant moment for me, so it
felt great to surprise Edward with the news and invite him into one of the
most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Ritzenhein, the
former American record-holder at 5,000 meters. "Gatorade has been on the
sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a
brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge
honor for these kids."

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also
high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on
and off the racecourse, distinguishes Cheserek as the nation's best high
school boys cross country runner. A national advisory panel comprised of
sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Cheserek from
nearly 250,000 high school boys cross country runners nationwide. Cheserek is
now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the
Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in

The 5-foot-8 senior won his second consecutive national title this past season
at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, with a time of 14:59. Cheserek
also won the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championship in 15:21.8, and
earned victories at the Essex County Championships, the Prep A state
championships and the Eastern States race at the Manhattan Invitational.

Cheserek has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered
locally on behalf of a community soup kitchen.

"Edward has broken every record around, beating times set by guys who have
been in the Olympics," said St. Benedict's coach Marty Hannon. "What he's
accomplished is amazing. It's been like a dream come true. I hate to put a
burden on kids, but the sky is really the limit for him."

Cheserek remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

"Without question, Edward is deserving of recognition as the nation's best
high school boys cross country runner based on his statistics on the course
and the impact his accomplishments have had on St. Benedict's success," said
Gatorade Vice President, Brand Marketing Morgan Flatley. "But he is also a
shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a
student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade
Player of the Year recipient."

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the
District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school
football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls
basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls
track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The
selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports
leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work
with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished,
veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  oSuper Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  oWNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  oNFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  oAmerican Mile Record-holder Alan Webb

For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including
nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future
announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at, on Facebook at or
follow us on Twitter at


YEAR    NAME                     HIGH SCHOOL                 STATUS
                                 St. Benedict's/Newark, NJ   High School
        Edward Cheserek          North Central/Indianapolis,
2012-13                          IN                          Northern Arizona
        Futsum                                               University
2011-12 Zeinasellassie       Carl Sandburg/Orland Park,
                                 IL                          Professional
2010-11 Lukas Verzbicas                                      Triathlete
                                 Carl Sandburg/Orland Park,
2009-10 Lukas Verzbicas          IL                          Professional
2008-09 Reed Connor              The Woodlands/The
                                 Woodlands, TX               University of
2007-08 Chris Derrick                                        Wisconsin
                                 Neuqua Valley/Naperville,
                                 IL                          Stanford
                                                             University Grad.

SOURCE The Gatorade Company

Contact: Lauren Rollins, +1-312-729-3607
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