In its 31st 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 2015-16 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 and is a repeat winner.

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 senior raced to his second straight Class 3A individual championship this past season with a time of 15:23.3, leading the Broncs to a second-place finish as a team.

The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Smith won the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships, breaking the tape in 15:23.6. He went on to compete at the NXN Final, where he finished 12th in 15:23.9.

Smith has maintained a 3.89 weighted GPA in the classroom.

A member of the National Honor Society and Cody C.A.N. (Changing Attitudes Now), he has volunteered locally as a math tutor and on behalf of various community food drives.

“Brody Smith is intrinsically motivated to be the best he can be,” said Cody High head coach Maggie Kirkham. “He has to train almost completely solo since no one else on the team is close to his training or racing paces. He does well because he is so mentally tough.”

Smith has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on an athletic scholarship at Utah State University beginning 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 girl 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.

Two-time winner Smith joins Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year 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.