Gatorade(R) National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Ashton Purvis 2008 NBA Champion and Former Gatorade California Boys Basketball Player of the Year Leon Powe Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

OAKLAND, Calif., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 25th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Ashton Purvis of St. Elizabeth High School (Oakland, Calif.) as its 2009-10 Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.  Purvis was surprised with the news by Oakland native and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Leon Powe at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, where she was guest-teaching the Pathway to College class.  Powe earned Gatorade California Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors in 2002-03.

By claiming the 222nd National Player of the Year trophy to be awarded in the program's 25-year history, Purvis becomes the 15th girls prep track & field athlete from the state of California to earn Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors. Only 10 national girls winners in the sport are natives of states other than California.

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 Purvis as the nation's best high school girls track & field athlete.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Purvis from more than 457,000 high school girls track & field athletes nationwide. Purvis is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 5-foot-8 senior sprinter won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.17 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 22.90 at the California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet this spring, leading the Mustangs to a fifth-place finish as a team.  Her 200-meter time ranks as the nation's No. 1 clocking among prep competitors in 2010, while her 100-meter time ranked No. 2.  Purvis' season-best 100 ranks sixth in prep history and only eight prep girls have ever run a faster 200.

The gold medalist in the 200-meter dash and the silver medalist in the 100 at the 2010 Junior Outdoor Championships, she qualified for July's 2010 IAAF World Junior Championship in both events. The 2010 Female Athlete of the Year as named by the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, Purvis won the 200-meter dash and the 60-meter dash at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in March.  

A member of Team USA at the International Association of Athletics Federation World Youth Championships in each of the past three summers, she was the fastest American in earning bronze in both the 100- and 200-meter dash last summer.  She captured first place in the 100-meter dash at the 2008 CIF state meet as a sophomore and first place in the 200-meter dash as a junior at the 2009 CIF state meet.

Purvis has maintained a B average in the classroom. A member of her school's Black Student Union as well as the Drama Club, she has donated more than 100 hours of community service throughout her prep career, volunteering as a K-8 tutor, on behalf of the Rainbow Recreation Center enrichment programs, and in association with Project Transition Oakland, a community support organization.  A participant in the East Oakland Youth Development Center's Youth Leadership Program and the invite-only Tavis Smiley Foundation's Youth Leadership Institute, Purvis has also donated her time as a peer tutor and youth athletic instructor. In addition, she has mentored youth athletes with the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area track & field training program as well as the Pacific Association and the 3M Track Club.

"Ashton Purvis' unbeaten regular season in the sprints—culminating with a state meet double—not only propelled her into the all-time top 10 in both events, but dominated a great group of Californians," said Steve Underwood, Senior Editor for "That earns her top billing among this year's prep girls track and field stars."

Purvis has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at the University of Miami this fall.

"Without question, Ashton is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls track & field athlete based on her statistics on the track and the impact her accomplishments have had on St. Elizabeth's success," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms.  "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be.  She 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 ESPN RISE 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.

To celebrate the award's 25th anniversary, Gatorade wants you to vote for the All-Time Greatest Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year at  For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at







Ashton Purvis

St. Elizabeth/Oakland, CA

High School Senior


Anna Jelmini

Shafter/Shafter, CA

Arizona State University


Chanelle Price

Easton Area/Easton, PA

University of Tennessee


Emily Pendleton

Woodmore/Elmore, OH

University of Michigan


Bianca Knight

Ridgeland/Ridgeland, MS

USA Track & Field


Brittany Daniels

Merrill F. West/Tracy, CA



Shalonda Solomon

Long Beach Poly/Englewood, CA

USA Track & Field


Allyson Felix

Los Angeles Baptist/North Hills, CA

USA Track & Field/Nike


Sanya Richards

St. Thomas Aquinas/Ft. Lauderdale, FL

USA Track & Field/Nike


Ychlindria Spears

Luling/Luling, TX

Univ. of Texas Grad.


Monique Henderson

Samuel FB Morse/San Diego, CA

USA Track & Field/Reebok


Stacy Martin

Edgewood/Ellettsville, IN

Auburn Grad.


Angela Williams

Chino/Chino, CA

USC Grad.


Kinshasa Davis

Woodrow Wilson/Long Beach, CA

USC Grad.


Kim Mortensen

Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks, CA

UCLA Grad.


Joanna Hayes

J.W. North/Riverside, CA

UCLA Grad.


Suzy Powell

Thomas Downey/Modesto, CA

UCLA Grad.


Marion Jones

Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks, CA

Tulsa Shock


Marion Jones

Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks, CA

Tulsa Shock


Marion Jones

Rio Mesa/Oxnard, CA

Tulsa Shock


Melisa Weis

Bakersfield/Bakersfield, CA

Cal State-Bakersfield Grad.


Angela Burnham

Rio Mesa/Oxnard, CA

UCLA Grad.


Chryste Gaines

South Oak Cliff/Dallas, TX

Stanford Grad.


Janeene Vickers

Pomona/Pomona, CA

UCLA Grad.


Yolanda Johnson

George Washington/Denver, CO

Univ. of Colorado Grad.

SOURCE The Gatorade Company


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