CHICAGO (KOLO) In its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today
announced Alexis Melendrez of Spanish Springs High School as its 2017-18 Gatorade Nevada Girls Cross Country Runner of the
Year. Melendrez is the first Gatorade Nevada Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Spanish Springs High
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 Melendrez as Nevada’s best high school girls cross
country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced
in January, Melendrez joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11,
2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09,
Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).
The 5-foot-4 senior raced to the Class 4A individual state championship this past season with a time of 19:41. Melendrez also broke the
tape at the Reed Invitational, the Douglas Class Races and the High Desert League meet, while finishing second at the Nevada Twilight
Classic and fifth at the Clovis Invitational.
A devoted member of her church community, Melendrez is co-founder of Kids on Track, a youth running camp. “It’s been so
rewarding to watch Alexis go from her freshman year, when she didn’t even have the confidence to train with our varsity girls, to the
state meet of her senior season, where she left every varsity girl in Nevada far behind,” said Spanish Springs coach Rhonda Beadell.
“I’ve never met an athlete more focused and goal-oriented.”
Melendrez has maintained a weighted 4.21 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in cross
country and track and field on scholarship at the University of Nevada 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.
Melendrez joins Gatorade Nevada Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year Samantha King-Shaw (2016-17, Reed High School), Alexis
Gourrier (2015-16, Centennial High School), Skyler Flora (2014-15, Tahoe Truckee High School), Sydney Badger (2013-14 & 2012-13,
Centennial High School), Mary Jo Wright (2011-12, Elko High School), Katie Gorczyca (2010-11, Palo Verde High School), and Kelsey
Smith (2009-10, 2008-09 & 2007-08, South Tahoe High School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Melendrez will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part
of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will
have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected
organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.