In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Ross Elliott of Cheyenne Central High School, as its 2016-17 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Elliott is the third Gatorade Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Cheyenne Central 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 Elliott as Wyoming’s best high school boys soccer player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Elliott joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel HS, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03, East Brunswick HS, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-04, Blue Valley West HS, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire HS, Mass.), Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista HS, Colo.).

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound senior forward scored 29 goals and passed for 24 assists this past season, breaking school records in both categories and leading the Indians (15-3-1) to the Class 4A state final.

Elliott is a two-time First Team All-State selection and is a three-time First Team All-Conference honoree.

Elliott has volunteered locally on behalf of Meals of Hope and the U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer program serving young athletes with disabilities.

“What Ross Elliott did this year was phenomenal,” said Ryan Cameron, head coach at Cheyenne East High School. “He’s a super-technical kid on the ball, with an ability to strike the ball that I haven’t seen in a high school player in maybe ever. He’s been a great player for four years, but he really set himself apart this season.”

Elliott has maintained a weighted 3.96 GPA in the classroom.

He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Colorado Mesa University 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.

Elliott joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Boys Soccer Players of the Year Cameron Campbell (2015-16, Laramie High School), Tristan White (2014-15 & 2013-14, Riverton High School), Will Horstmann (2012-13, Jackson Hole High School), Vitor Nazareth (2011-12, Laramie High School), Kasey Esponda (2010–11, Buffalo High School), Kevin Cox (2009-10, Cheyenne Central High School), Ben Borin (2008–09, Cheyenne East High School), Zach Johnson (2007-08, Kelly Walsh High School), and Sam Hayden (2006-07, Jackson Hole High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Ross 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.