CHICAGO -- In its 28th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Josh Brickell of Peachtree Ridge High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Brickell is the first Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Peachtree Ridge 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 racecourse, distinguishes Brickell as Georgia's best high school boys cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Brickell joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-00, 2000-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The state's returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Brickell raced to the Class AAAAAA individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:55.32, leading the Lions to fifth place as a team. Also the two-time Runner of the Year as named by the Gwinnett Daily Post, the 6-foot senior placed second at the Foot Locker South Regional championships in 14:49. He did not finish the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships due to illness. Brickell captured eighth place at the Foot Locker's national competition in 2011 as a junior.
Also a track standout, Brickell has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom and ranks sixth in his graduating class. He has volunteered locally on behalf of his church's youth group, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society.
"As a senior this year, Josh showed exemplary work ethic, always doing what it took to be successful," said Peachtree Ridge head coach Ron Clanton. "Josh's actions show that he believes there are no shortcuts to success, and that doing all the little things can make a big difference. He has developed into a leader on the athletic field and in the classroom. Throughout his four years, he has consistently held himself to high athletic and academic standards."
Brickell has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at Furman University beginning 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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Brickell joins Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Cody Barger (2010-11, North Hall High School), Kirubel Erassa (2009-10, Grayson), Taylor Lord (2008-09, Chapel Hill), and Zack Flickinger (2007-08, Lassiter) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.