In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, announced Kevin Allen of Upton High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

Allen is the first Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Upton 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 track, distinguishes Allen as Wyoming’s best high school boys track & field athlete.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Allen joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Meb Keflezighi (1993-94, San Diego HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.) and Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt HS, Ia.).

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior field athlete won individual state titles this spring in the discus with a mark of 199 feet, 11 inches and the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, four-and-a-half inches, leading the Bobcats to a third-place finish as a team at the Class 1A state meet.

A four-time First Team All-State honoree, Allen won the state championship in discus all four years of his prep career.

His season-best effort of 204 feet, four inches ranked third among throws by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

Allen has maintained a 3.50 GPA in the classroom.

A member of his school’s robotics club, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Future Business Leaders of America.

“Kevin Allen is an excellent competitor,” said Mike Lashley, head coach at Lingle-Ft. Laramie High. “Not only does his discus performance rank as one of the best in the nation, his sportsmanship is also unparalleled. He treats fellow athletes with the utmost respect and he is very humble about his abilities.”

Allen has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on an athletic scholarship at Utah State 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 ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.

Allen joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year Justin Melton (2010-11, Douglas High School), Caleb Her Many Horses (2009-10, Wyoming Indian), Dominick Robinson (2008-09, Campbell County), and Stephen Michel (2007-08, Laramie) among the state’s list of former award winners.