CHICAGO (April 15, 2021) - In its 36th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Peyton Geehrer of Fayetteville-Manlius High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade New York Boys Cross Country Player of the Year. Geehrer is the third Gatorade New York Boys Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Fayetteville-Manlius 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 Geehrer as New York's best high school boys cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in April, Geehrer joins an elite alumni association of 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-2, 165-pound senior took second at the Northeast High School Club Championships this past season with a time of 15:23.7. The 2019 Nike Cross Nationals New York champion, Geehrer was undefeated during the 2020 regular season.
Geehrer has volunteered locally on behalf of his school's Interact Club. "Peyton is one of the finest boys I've ever coached, both as an athlete and in terms of character," said Fayetteville-Manlius coach Bill Aris. "He held himself like a true champion would, working hard every day and making the very best of a challenging COVID season."
Geehrer has maintained an A average in the classroom. He remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
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 works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Geehrer joins recent Gatorade New York Boys Cross Country Players of the Year Sam Lawler (2019-20, Mendon High School), Parker Stokes (2018-19, Maine-Endwell High School), Mason Gatewood (2017-18, St. Anthony's High School), and Ty Brownlow (2016-17, Liverpool High School), among the state's list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Geehrer has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Geehrer is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
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.playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.