PRESS RELEASE | In its 35th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Taylor James of Niwot High School as its 2019-20 Gatorade Colorado Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. James is the first Gatorade Colorado Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Niwot 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 field, distinguishes James as Colorado's best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, James joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).
The 6-foot junior was named the Class 4A Athlete of the Year after capturing four gold medals at the 2019 state championship meet and setting a meet record of 2:08.29 in the 800-meter run. James also broke the tape in the 200 and 400-meter dashes, and was part of a quartet that won the 4x400 relay. Her season-best time of 2:05.83 in the 800 was ranked as the nation's No. 7 performance among prep competitors in 2019. This past winter, James clocked an indoor mile in 4:49.75, which ranked as the U.S. No. 8 time, and ran the No. 17 time in the 800 (2:11.59).
James has volunteered locally on behalf of Lifeline Puppy Rescue. "Taylor's range and versatility are unmatched," said Niwot coach Maurice Henriques. "Her athleticism shows clearly given her ability to run against the best from the 100 to the 1600, and on the cross country course."
James has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her senior year of high school 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.
James joins recent Gatorade Colorado Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Anna Hall (2018-19 & 2017-18, Valor Christian High School), Arria Minor (2016-17, Denver East High School), Katie Rainsberger (2015-16, Air Academy High School), Jordyn Colter (2014-15, Cherry Creek High School), and Dior Hall (2013-14, George Washington High School) among the state's list of former award winners.
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.
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 us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.