Brittany Daniels Named 2005 Gatorade Track & Field National Athlete of the Year
June 22, 2005
LOS ANGELES - In its 20th Anniversary season of honoring the nation's elite high school athletes, Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine, today announced Brittany Daniels of Merrill F. West High School in Tracy, Calif., as the 2005 Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The announcement was made as part of a USA Track & Field press conference on Wednesday, prior to the start of this week's USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at The home depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The award, which recognizes athletic achievement as well as the academic performance and overall character of its recipient, distinguishes Daniels as the nation's best high school girls' track & field athlete. The Gatorade National Advisory Board, a group of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country, selected Daniels from the more than 415,000 female high school track & field athletes nationwide. Daniels is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award, to be presented at an awards ceremony the afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
Daniels, a senior, won the triple jump competitions at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships (43 feet, 4½ inches) and the Arcadia Invitational (43 feet, 5 inches - meet record). Her jump at Arcadia places hers among the top marks recorded by American women this year, and Daniels has also posted a wind-aided mark of 45 feet, 7¾ inches that would place her near the top of that list.
At home Daniels won her third consecutive California Interscholastic Federation state title in the triple jump (44 feet, 5½ inches) and her first state title in the long jump (20 feet, 8¾ inches). She also ran the second leg of West's silver medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team (45.78). In all her performances helped West claim its fifth consecutive San Joaquin Athletic Association League and third straight Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Division I crowns, as well as the CIF State Girls Track & Field team title.
Daniels finishes her prep career as the American Junior record holder in the triple jump (44 feet, 11¾ inches) and the owner of the five longest high school triple jumps in history.
Brittany's standard of excellence extends to the classroom, where she maintains a 3.5 GPA. She serves as a City of Tracy Recreation Group Leader, a member of the Save the Trees Foundation, a volunteer at Laguna Homes Retirement Center, and has been a guest speaker for the Tracy Unified School District Elementary Schools.
'Brittany is one in a million,' says Merrill West Head Coach John Harvey, who has been coaching high school track & field for 15 years. 'She is by far the best track athlete in the country, and her work ethic is second to none. As a person, she is a pleasure to be around, with her great sense of humor and smiling face. She always goes above and beyond to help her teammates, coaches and friends. Simply put, Brittany is the future of women's jumps for the U.S.A., and the perfect role model for youngsters.'
'The honor bestowed upon Brittany today is reflective of her demonstrated ability to compete at the highest levels of track & field, rising to the top of an extremely talented group of high school athletes across the nation,' said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox. 'For 20 years the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award has recognized outstanding athletes who also shine in the classroom and in their communities, so it is the whole of Brittany's accomplishments that have earned her a place among the best high school athletes of the past two decades.'
The Gatorade High School Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and awards one National Player of the Year in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, and boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, and track & field. Former National Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year include Athens' 200-meter silver medalist Allyson Felix and 100-meter hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes, and Marion Jones, winner of five medals in Sydney in 2000. Previous national award winners across all sports include Emmitt Smith, Lisa Leslie, Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez and Kerri Walsh among others.
For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and a list of upcoming announcement dates, or the names of previous winners, visit www.gatorade.com.