LOS ANGELES, CA -- The biggest names in high school and professional sports convened in Los Angeles on July 12 as Gatorade honored the top young male and female athletes at the 15th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards.
 
Union Catholic's Sydney McLaughlin received the 2017 Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year honor for the second consecutive year. A local New Jersey athlete has won the Gatorade award in three of the past four years. Saint Joseph High School graduate Karl-Anthony Towns took the honor in 2014. 
 
Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year MacKenzie Gore (Whiteville High School, Whiteville, NC) was named the 2017 Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year. The two young athletes graced the cover of this week's edition of Sports Illustrated.
 
 
Gore and McLaughlin were featured as special guests during The ESPYS. They were also honored at the awards dinner emceed by ESPN SportsCenter On The Road Host Sage Steele and attended by Towns, Abby Wambach (former U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team forward and 1997-98 Gatorade New York Girls Soccer Player of the Year), Aaron Rodgers, Christian McCaffrey, and Deshaun Watson, among others. 
 
Sydney McLaughlin: The returning Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year broke her own national high school and World Junior (Under-20) records in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 54.03 seconds at the Non-Public A championship meet this past season. She also won the 400-meter dash in a meet-record 51.88 and the 200-meter dash in a state-record 22.96, both of which ranked as the No. 1 times among U.S. prep competitors in 2017. Other highlights of her career:
  • Won the 400 hurdles at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor in 54.22 -- her seventh national title (to go with a World Youth title)
  • Her 38.90 time in the 300 hurdles at April’s Arcadia Invitational set another national prep record by more than a full second
  • Clocked the fastest 400-meter relay split in high school history (49.85) at NBNO
  • Broke national records in both the 300 and 400-meter races during the indoor season
  • 3.46 GPA
  • Volunteer for the Central Jersey Chapter of HOPE Worldwide
  • Participated in multiple community service projects, including distributing fire safety and disaster relief information on behalf of the American Red Cross
  • Served as a soup kitchen staffer and as part of a teen outreach project in association with her church community
  • Donated her time to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts
  • Signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at the University of Kentucky this fall

Established in 1985, 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. One National Player of the Year is awarded in each sport. In addition to athletic excellence, the award recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field. In 2003, the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards were established to identify and honor the nation’s top overall male and female high school athletes from among the 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year recognized during the high school athletic season.