In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Peter Visser of Star Valley High School, as its 2018-19 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Visser is the second Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Star Valley 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 Visser 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 February, Visser joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park High School, Ill.), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Ill.).

The 6-foot-1, 140-pound sophomore won the Class 3A state meet this past season with a time of 15:56.21, breaking the tape 4.24 seconds ahead of his next-closest competitor and leading the Braves to a second-place finish as a team.

Visser finished 44th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships and won four races on the season.

Visser works at his family’s bicycle store.

He has volunteered locally on behalf of community beautification projects, and he has donated his time to multiple community service initiatives through his church youth group.

“Peter may be the greatest all-around kid I have coached in my 20 years of doing it,” said Ty Draney, head coach of Star Valley High. “He is a great teammate and truly loves to compete.”

Visser has maintained a 3.95 GPA in the classroom.

He will begin his junior 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.

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.

Visser joins Gatorade Wyoming Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Albert Steiner (2017-18, Laramie High School), Shane Henderson (2016-17, Star Valley High School), Brody Smith (2015-16 & 2014-15, Cody High School), and Jonah Henry (2013-14, Laramie High School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.

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