In its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Albert Steiner of Laramie High School as its 2017 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Steiner is the second Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Laramie 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 Steiner as Wyoming’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, Steiner joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).

The 6-foot, 137-pound senior won the Class 4A state meet this past season with a time of 15:55.06, breaking the tape 4.97 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor and leading the Plainsmen to a sixth-straight state title as a team.

Steiner finished eighth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships to earn Second Team All-Region honors.

He won six of eight races on the season.

A competitive Nordic skier, Steiner has volunteered locally with the American Legion and as a youth ski instructor.

“Each time we raced Albert, I was impressed by his take-charge attitude,” said Brad DeKrey, head coach of Rock Springs High. “His aggressiveness at the outset of a race is his calling card. He is formidable from the gun and hard to beat.”

Steiner has maintained a 3.31 GPA in the classroom.

He has signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country on scholarship at the University of Wyoming 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.

Steiner joins Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Shane Henderson (2016-17, Star Valley High School), Brody Smith (2015-16 & 2014-15, Cody High School), Jonah Henry (2013-14, Laramie High School), Ricky Faure (2012-13, Rock Springs High School), Oliver Scofield (2011-12, Jackson Hole High School), Alex Sorensen (2010-11, Evanston High School), Spencer Pecha (2009-10, Campbell County High School), and Dominick Robinson (2008-09 & 2007-08, Campbell County High School), as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Steiner will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.

Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.