Gatorade® National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year: Grant Fisher

Professional Distance Runner Dathan Ritzenhein Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

Jan 30, 2014, 10:00 ET from Gatorade

GRAND BLANC, Mich., Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recently announced Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc High School (Grand Blanc, Mich.) as its 2013-14 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Fisher was surprised with the news at school by three-time USA 12K Cross Country champion Dathan Ritzenhein, who earned Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors in 1999-00 and 2000-01.

"It felt great to surprise Grant with the Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award and welcome him into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Ritzenhein. "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."

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 Fisher as the nation's best high school boys cross country runner.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Fisher from nearly 250,000 high school football players nationwide. Fisher 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 5-foot-8, 135-pound junior raced to the national title this past season with a time of 15:07 at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. Fisher won the Division 1 state title in 15:13.7 and captured the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championship in 15:02. He was also first at the Portage Invitational, the Jackson Invitational, the Nike/Holly/Duane Raffin Festival of Races, the KLAA Lakes Conference Championships and the Regional Championships.

Also receiving All-State Honorable Mention recognition in soccer this past fall, Fisher has maintained a 3.95 GPA in the classroom. A peer tutor in his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of a winter coat drive and youth sports programs. 

"Above all else, the name of the game in cross country is to win and that's all Grant Fisher did on the way to winning the Foot Locker title," said Doug Binder, Editor-in-chief of "Of all the top guys in the country, he's the only one that went undefeated. With the national championship on the line, he was able to pull something out of reserve and get the job done. Grant matured by leaps and bounds as a distance runner last fall and I think we're going to hear a lot more from him in the spring."

Fisher will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

"Without question, Grant is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school boys cross country runner based on his statistics on the field and the impact his accomplishments have had on Grand Blanc's success," said Gatorade Vice President, Brand Marketing Morgan Flatley.  "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 USA TODAY High School Sports 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.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  • Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  • WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  • NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  • Kansas City Royals Cy Young award-winner Zach Grienke

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











Grant Fisher

Edward Cheserek

Futsum Zeinasellassie    

Lukas Verzbicas

Lukas Verzbicas

Grand Blanc/Grand Blanc, MI

St. Benedict's/Newark, NJ

North Central/Indianapolis, IN

Carl Sandburg/Orland Park, IL

Carl Sandburg/Orland Park, IL

High School Junior

University of Oregon

Northern Arizona University

Professional Triathlete

Professional Triathlete



Reed Connor

Chris Derrick

The Woodlands/The Woodlands, TX

Neuqua Valley/Naperville, IL

University of Wisconsin

Stanford University Grad.

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SOURCE Gatorade