A Recognition of Excellence: Gatorade Player of the Year

Perry High School has had a history of outstanding athletes, with many going above and beyond in their areas of performance. Gatorade, a commonly loved sports drink company, goes out of their way to recognize student athletes who perform well in sports and academics with an award known as the “Gatorade Player of the Year” award. In past years Brock Purdy and Dylan Anderson have achieved this award, but this year two Perry students have done something never before seen.

Both sophomore Koa Peat and senior Khamil Pierre were awarded the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the 2022-2023 school year. This marked the first time any school in Arizona has won the award in both the male and female category in the same year. Peat and Pierre, with their coaches’ help, have put in enormous effort to become Gatorade Players of the Year, but what exactly does that entail?

This award gives recognition to 607 student athletes throughout the nation, one from each state in 12 different sports. The Gatorade player of the Year is a recognition of “student-athletes not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character” (Gatorade FRQs) Each of these standards are considered by a committee which takes into account athletic statistics, GPA, and community service hours all before making a decision as to who they should present the award to.

Both Pierre and Peat have put hours upon hours of work towards attaining those standards of excellence sought after by the Gatorade Player of the Year committee, but this looked different for each of them. Peat felt that “..[this award] was obviously a goal, but really the main goal was trying to win state” and on his way to achieving that victory with his team he was able to accomplish everything he needed to attain this award. Pierre felt that she was able to work on both Gatorade Player of the Year and her accomplishments alongside her teammates. She said that “ I just kept my head down and kept working and obviously that was something I wanted to achieve, and then I was able to make it happen” through her work on and off the team, Pierre was able to achieve her goal. 

This award draws a lot of attention to the athletes who are chosen, and opens up many new opportunities for them. Pierre, however, does not see this accomplishment changing her future plans. She said, “ Honestly it doesn’t really change it at all, I still have to keep my head down and keep working.” Peat felt similarly, saying that the award didn’t change his plans for the future.