In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced McCade Johnson of Laramie High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

Johnson is the fourth Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athlete 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 track, distinguishes Johnson as Wyoming’s best high school boys track & field athlete.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Johnson joins an elite alumni association of state track & field award-winners, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).

The 6-foot-1, 155-pound senior hurdler captured a pair of individual titles this past season at the Class 4A state meet, leading the Plainsmen to a second-place finish as a team.

Johnson won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.57 seconds and the 300-meter hurdles in 37.68.

He was undefeated in the hurdles this spring and his winning time of 37.10 in the 300 hurdles at the Class 4A East regionals ranked as the nation’s No. 27 performance among prep competitors in 2017 at the time of his selection.

A devoted parishioner in his church community, where is a member of his youth group, he has volunteered locally as a youth football and track and field coach.

“McCade Johnson is a competitor who is incredibly fast over the hurdles,” said Jesse Blunn, head coach at Cheyenne East High. “He is very level-headed and based all of his goals on hard work.”

Johnson has maintained a 3.69 GPA in the classroom.

He has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on an athletic 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.

Johnson joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year Brody Smith (2015-16, Cody High School), Chase Andersen (2014-15, Natrona County High School), Joey Czellecz (2013-14 & 2012-13, Kelly Walsh High School), Kevin Allen (2011-12, Upton High School), Justin Melton (2010-11, Douglas High School), Caleb Her Many Horses (2009-10, Wyoming Indian High School), Dominick Robinson (2008-09, Campbell County High School), Stephen Michel (2007-08, Laramie High School), and Bob Hewitt-Gaffney (2006-07, Campbell County High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, McCade 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.