Katelynne Hart Named Girls Gatorade AOY

CHICAGO (June 20, 2019) - In its 34th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Katelynne Hart of Glenbard West High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Illinois Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Hart is the first Gatorade Illinois Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Glenbard West 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 track, distinguishes Hart as Illinois' 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, Hart joins an elite alumni association of state track & field award-winners, 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 5-foot-4 junior won three individual races at the Class 3A state meet this past season. The state's returning Gatorade Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Hart broke the tape in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:52.99, captured the 3200 in 10:24.33 and took the 800 in 2:13.11. Her season-best clocking of 4:39.57 in the mile ranked as the nation's No. 2 performance among prep competitors in 2019 at the time of her selection. 

Hart has volunteered locally on behalf of the Mawi Learning leadership group and her school's Medical and Global Giving club. "Katelynne is incredibly disciplined in the effort she puts forth on and off the track," said Glenbard West High School distance coach Paul Hass. "Her workouts are extraordinary as far as the times she's able to hit consistently and the mental focus she brings to each practice." 

Hart has maintained a 4.76 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. 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.

Two-time winner Hart joins Gatorade Illinois Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Kathleen Young (2016-17 & 2015-16, Warrensburg-Latham High School), Brittny Ellis (2014-15, Warren Township High School) and Parker English (2013-14, Evanston Township High School) among the state's list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Hart also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

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.