PRESS RELEASE | In its 38th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Tavon Underwood of Mead High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade Colorado Boys Track & Field Player of the Year. Underwood is the first Gatorade Colorado Boys Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from Mead 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 Underwood as Colorado's best high school boys track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Underwood joins an elite alumni association of state awardwinners in 12 sports, including Nico Young (2019-20, Newbury Park High School, Calif.), Michael Norman (2015-16 & 2014-15, Vista Murrieta High School, Calif.), Grant Fisher (2014-15 & 2013-14, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas).
The 6-foot, 180-pound senior won the 200, 400, and 800-meter dash at the Class 4A state meet this past season, leading the Mavericks to a seventh-place finish as a team. Underwood's winning time of 45.36 seconds in the 400 ranked No. 1 nationally among prep competitors in 2023, while his winning 200 time of 20.93 seconds ranked No. 31. He took first in the 400 at both the Brooks PR Invitational and the New Balance Nationals Outdoor.
Underwood has volunteered locally as a youth soccer and basketball referee, and he has donated his time as a physical fitness mentor to elementary school students.
Underwood has maintained a weighted 3.23 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on scholarship at Kansas State University 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 leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Underwood joins recent Gatorade Colorado Boys Track & Field Players of the Year Connor McCormick (2021-22, Longmont High School), Harrison Witt (2020-21, Mountain Vista High School), and Cole Sprout (2019-20 & 2018- 19, Valor Christian High School), among the state's list of former award winners.
Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade's Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade's social impact partners, supporting Gatorade's ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.
For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate studentathletes, 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.