Every year, Gatorade selects an athlete from every state as the Player of the Year (POY). Last year, the selections were Jasmine Moore of Mansfield Lake Ridge for the girls and Matthew Boling of Houston Strake Jesuit for the boys. In fact, Moore and Boling not only won the state awards, but they both won the Gatorade National POY awards.
Yesterday, it was announced that Denton Guyer distance runner Brynn Brown was named the 2020 winner for the state of Texas.
So, how was the award decided? That's always a tough question, but this year had to be even murkier for the Gatorade committee than usual considering the season was cut short due to COVID-19.
First and foremost, let's look at the criteria. The Gatorade POY is an athletic award based on athletic performance, however it is much more than that. The consideration also comes down to academic achievement and exemplary character. Grades are a big factor, but so are character; community service and sacrifices of personal of time to help others are common resume builders of past winners.
Usually, determining athletic factors could be state championships, times, PRs, and big meet accomplishments. We don't have nearly as many of those deciding factors since the season was cut short by COVID-19.
Many runners didn't get their outdoor seasons started or didn't have the chance to race much or at big meets to get top competition and times, distances, or heights.
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Brown's 2020 Resume
The Denton Guyer distance runner had a short resume of both indoor and outdoor marks, but she had some iconic feats in those few appearances.
Indoors, Brown ran the 2 mile at A&M and it was quite a performance. She dropped a 10:08.11 on January 11th for a meet record and a time that endured the entire indoor season for the US No. 1 ranking.
Outdoors, brown ran in two outdoor meets. The first meet was the Mansfield Legacy Bronco Relays where she tuned up with 2:18.74 and 5:01.47 performances. A week later at the Coppell Relays, she would drop the hammer with a 4:50.77, which at the time was a US No. 1 (US No. 3 when season ended) and a 9:58.58 in the 3200m for another US No. 1 ranking. The 3200m time was also the fastest time on record before the month of March.
Brown didn't run after Feb 29 as she was scheduled to race the Elite 5K at the TDF, but the meet was cancelled due to COVID the day before the meet. Although competitions were shut down, Brown ran a time trial that packed a punch and may have been considered by the Gatorade committee.
Unofficially, Brown ran a new 3200m national record. She ran a time trial that even though it didn't have a qualifying timing system and was ran with males, it produced an All-Time best 9:39. That effort probably will not be considered in making a selection, but goes to show how awesome Brown is.
To meet the other requirements for the award, Brown has a 4.54 GPA and is an active member of her church and has been active in volunteering assisting with a children's camp for Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit patients.
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Texas is full of talent and this award wasn't just handed to Brown because of her name and a couple of big performances.
She had to out perform some of the best talent nation wide that are within our state borders. Here is our opinion of some of the athletes she beat out for this year's award.
The DeSoto sprinter/hurdler could have been heavily considered for Gatorade's Texas Girls POY and here is why. Despite having her senior season ended early and the opportunity to accomplish many goals she probably had in mind, she still accomplished a lot.
With indoor season being considered, Hollis could have easily won based on athletic accomplishments. She was both fast and effective in her two primary events. In the 60H, Hollis was the runner-up at the Texas A&M High School Indoor Classic where she ran 8.72. She followed that up two weeks later with a 8.51 at the Texas Tech Under Armour High School Classic for a third place finish and a US No.7 ranking.
In the indoor 200m, she added more top 10 performances. She ran 23.95 at A&M where she had the second fastest time going into the finals that she decided not to run. Then at Tech, she ran 23.79 in the prelims and then a 23.66 in the finals for the win and the US No. 2 ranking in the event.
Early outdoor season meets are sometimes known as dust busters as athletes try to knock the dust off and get some season momentum generated. However, that was not the case for Hollis. Even though the season was short lived, she still packed some fast times in it.
Hollis ran four 100H races 14.07 and under including a 13.61 good enough for an all conditions US No.3 ranking. Then in the 200m, she ran a 24.03 and a 23.59 for a US No. 1 ranking.