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German Fernandez: Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year

07/03/2008 - 05:05

fernandezNikeOutdoor08.jpg July 3 2008 from Running USA wire (RIVERBANK, CA) In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership with RISE Magazine, has announced German Fernandez (file photo) of Riverbank High School (Riverbank, Calif.) as its 2007-08 Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track, distinguishes Fernandez as the nation's best high school boys track & field athlete. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country helped select Fernandez from the more than 534,000 high school boys track & field athletes nationwide. Fernandez is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The senior distance runner finished the 2008 outdoor season ranked #1 in both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters among prep competitors nationwide. At the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships, Fernandez's performance in the 1600 meters (4:00.29) broke the California Interscholastic Federation state meet record (4:02.62), set in 2001 by 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Ryan Hall. Fernandez's time was only 0.78 seconds away from the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations record (3:59.51), set in 2001 by the current U.S. record holder in the mile and 2000-01 Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year Alan Webb.

After a mere two hours of rest following the 1600 meter race, Fernandez clocked an 8:34.23 finish in the 3200 meters, shattering the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations record (8:41.10), set in 2000 by Dathan Ritzenhein, the runner-up in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. This performance also broke a hand-timed CIF state meet record (8:44.9) set by the late Eric Hulst in 1975.

Fernandez recently returned from the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals, where he dominated the 2 mile with a winning time of 8:34.40, crushing a 29-year-old national high school record of 8:36.30 set by Jeff Nelson. Fernandez's 3K split of 7:59.83 also broke the national record (8:03.67) set by Galen Rupp in 2004.

Also the 2007-08 Gatorade California Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, Fernandez placed first in the 8K race at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships in 24:18. He finished 25th at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships (24:15), leading Team USA to a sixth place team finish in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Fernandez has maintained a 3.25 GPA in the classroom. He has donated his time as a youth basketball coach in addition to serving as a race course monitor at the annual Riverbank Wine & Cheese Run, a charity race associated with the ShadowChase Running Club. Fernandez, who works a multi-shift schedule as a part-time host at the Riverbank Applebee's, has remained an active peer leader in his school and community despite a demanding, year-round focus on elite-level distance training.

"German has had a great year, from his fall cross country triumphs to his World Cross Country Championships performance this past winter, to a string of impressive doubles on the track in the spring," said Dave Devine, an assistant editor with DyeStat. "But nothing prepared folks for what he did at the California state meet. That 4:00.29 / 8:34.23 double is not only the performance of the year, it is, without a doubt, the best one-day distance double in prep history. There are other great runners this year, but German, on a good day, is on another level."

Fernandez has signed a National Letter of Intent to run at Oklahoma State University this fall.

"Without question, German is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school boys track & field athlete based on his statistics on the track and the tremendous ability he's demonstrated," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. "But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

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 RISE Magazine, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and lists of past winners, visit:



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