Caleb Brown

Shelby's Caleb Brown raises a finger as he wins the Division II state championship at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

SHELBY — In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced Tuesday that Caleb Brown of Shelby High School is its 2019-20 Gatorade Ohio Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Brown is the first Gatorade Ohio Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Shelby High School.

"Caleb’s accomplishments on the cross country course speak for themselves,” said Randy Foster, head coach of Edison High School. “Someone who is a multi-time All-American could easily ignore runners who are not to his level in the running circles, but Caleb makes the time to interact with them. He has even shared some of his training secrets with my runners.”

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 Brown as Ohio’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 February, Brown joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Ill.).

The 6-foot, 150-pound senior won the Division II state meet this past season, clocking a course-record time of 15:05.1 and breaking the tape 8.2 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor. Brown earned All-American status by finishing third at the Nike Cross Nationals Final, less than a month after taking second at the NXN Midwest Regional championships.

He is a six-time state champion between cross country and track and field, and was the 2019 New Balance National Outdoor champion in the two-mile run last spring.

Brown has volunteered locally at a homeless shelter and has donated his time to multiple community service initiatives through his church youth group.

Brown has maintained a 3.26 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin 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 and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.

From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year. Brown joins recent Gatorade Ohio Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year Conant Smith (2018-19, Middletown High School), Dustin Horter (2017-18 & 2016-17, Lakota East High School), Andrew Jordan (2015-16, Watkins Memorial High School) and Michael Vitucci (2014-15, St. Xavier High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.

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