Chesney Peterson Wins Gatorade Athlete of the Year




1ST- 4:54 CLASS 2A STATE MEET - 1600M
1ST - 1:00.15 CLASS 2A STATE MEET - 400M
1ST - 2.18.70 CLASS 2A STATE MEET - 800M



In its 37th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Chesney Peterson of Stanton County High School is the 2021-22 Gatorade Kansas Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Peterson is the first Gatorade Kansas Girls Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from Stanton County 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 Peterson as Kansas's best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Peterson joins an elite alumni association of state award winners in 12 sports, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2014-15 & 2013-14, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).

The 5-foot-8 junior won four individual events at the Class 2A state meet this past season, including a meet-record clocking of 4:54 in the 1600-meter run. Peterson also won the 400-meter dash in 1:00.15 and the 800 in 2:18.70. She completed the feat by breaking the tape in the 3200 with a time of 10:52.65.

The President of her school's student council, Peterson has volunteered locally on behalf of food-donation drives, school recycling programs, blood-donation drives, and youth running camps. "Chesney gives the boys a run for their money every day at practice and it makes everyone around her work harder," said Stanton County High School coach Andrea Jones. "She put in the work and it really showed on the track this year. She didn't have [realistic opposition] at a single meet all season."

Peterson has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her senior 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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media, and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.

Peterson joins recent Gatorade Kansas Girls Track & Field Players of the Year Katelyn Fairchild (2020-21, Andale High School), Dhakiya Blake (2019-20, Leavenworth High School), Kendra Wait (2018-19, Gardner Edgerton High School), and Dana Baker (2017-18, Olathe North High School), among the state's list of former award winners.

Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade's "Play it Forward" platform, Peterson has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Peterson is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants has totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations. 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.