In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Brody Smith of Cody High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Smith is the first Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Cody 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 Smith 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, Smith 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 5-foot-9, 130-pound junior raced to the Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:45.5, leading the Broncs to a third-place finish as a team.

A three-time First Team All-State selection, Smith took sixth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 16:45.4.

He went on to compete atthe NXN Final where he finished 65th in 16:16.

Smith has maintained a 3.84 GPA in the classroom.

A member of the National Honor Society and his school’s Teen Leadership Coalition, he has volunteered locally as a math tutor and has donated his time raking leaves for the elderly.

“Aside from his running excellence, I have always thought Brody Smith has carried himself with class, respecting both the sport and his fellow runners,” said Jackson High head coach Jeff Brazil. “He exudes the quiet confidence that personifies top-notch cross country runners, but also supports others as they compete.”

Smith will begin his senior year of high school 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.