In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Parker Christensen of Sheridan High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Wyoming Football Player of the Year.

Christensen is the seventh Gatorade Wyoming Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Sheridan 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 Christensen as Wyoming’s best high school football player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in December, Christensen joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Emmitt Smith (1986-87, Escambia High School, Fla.), Matthew Stafford (2005-06 Highland Park High School, Texas) and Christian McCaffrey (2012-13, 2013-14, Valor Christian High School, Colo.).

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior running back and linebacker rushed for 1,120 yards and 19 touchdowns on 132 carries this past season, leading the Broncs to the Class 4A state final.

Christensen also caught 20 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns, while recording 85 tackles on defense and returning two kickoffs for TDs.

He is a three-time All-Conference selection, and a two-time All-State honoree.

Christensen has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, a soup kitchen, youth sports programs and his church’s thrift shop.

“Parker Christensen was unreal this year against us and everyone else,” said Chad Goff, head coach at Cheyenne East High. “His size, speed and versatility are just amazing.”

Christensen has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

He has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of Wyoming next 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.

From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.

In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

Christensen joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Football Players of the Year Brett Brenton (2017-18, Natrona County High School), Coy Steel (2016-17, Sheridan High School), Theo Dawson (2015-16, Jackson Hole High School), Christian Mayer (2014-15, Big Horn High School), and Tevis Bartlett (2013-14, Cheyenne East High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Christensen 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.