In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced Nick Scheller of Chanhassen High School as its 2019-20 Gatorade Minnesota Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Scheller is the first Gatorade Minnesota Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Chanhassen 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 Scheller as Minnesota’s best high school boys cross country runner.
The 5-foot-10, 145-pound senior won the Nike Cross National Heartland Regional championships with a time of 15:17.8, breaking the tape 1.3 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor. Scheller followed up by finishing 31st at the NXN Final.
He was the runner-up at the Class 2A state meet and he took 34th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships. He is a five-year varsity runner and a five-time All-Conference selection. Scheller has volunteered locally with the Civil Air Patrol and he has donated his time as a youth ski coach.
"As I watched Nick at a few meets this season, his demeanor was a little different than other seasons," said Kyle Zygarlicke, assistant coach of Chaska High School girls cross country. "It wasn’t a flashy 'Watch me.' But it was more of a 'Watch me and I will show you what (five) years at the varsity level looks like.' He knew he could run with anyone in the state."
Scheller has maintained a 3.81 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to attend the Air Force Academy, where he will run for the cross country and track teams, beginning this fall.
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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 and 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 Athletes of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Scheller joins recent Gatorade Minnesota Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year in Acer Iverson (2018-19 & 2017-18, Roseville Area High School), Alex Miley (2016-17, Maple Grove Senior High School), Jaret Carpenter (2015-16, Wayzata High School) and Connor Olson (2014-15, Wayzata High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Scheller has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He 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. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY.