Yared Nuguse Named KY Gatorade XC Runner of the Year

CHICAGO (January 30, 2017) - In its 32nd year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Yared Nuguse of duPont Manual High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Kentucky Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Nuguse is the first Gatorade Kentucky Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from duPont Manual High School.

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 Nuguse as Kentucky's best high school boys cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Nuguse joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).

The 6-foot-1, 131-pound senior won the Class AAA state meet this past season with a time of 15:41.13, breaking the tape 7.6 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor and leading the Rams to a fourth-place finish as a team. Nuguse also placed 16th at the Foot Locker South Regional championships. The Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Area 3 Super Team Runner of the Year, he holds school track records at 800 meters, 1,600 meters, 3,200 meters and the mile. He also owns the school 5K record in cross country.

An accomplished violinist in the duPont Manual orchestra, Nuguse has volunteered locally on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House charities and as part of community beautification projects. "Yared's record speaks for itself: he was exceptional this year," said Stephanie Barnes, head coach of Butler High. "He is a great, all-around young man."

Nuguse has maintained a 3.95 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame this fall.

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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.

Nuguse joins Gatorade Kentucky Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Cole Dowdy (2015-16, South Oldham High School), Ethan Shuley (2014-15, Highlands High School), Patrick Gregory (2013-14, Butler Traditional High School), Jacob Thomson (2012-13 & 2011- 12, Holy Cross High School), Evan Ehrenheim (2010-11, Daviess County High School), Ryan Eaton (2009-10 & 2008-09, Greenwood High School), and Gordy Dooley (2007-08, St. Henry District High School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Nuguse will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants - one for each sport - will be announced throughout the year.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.