In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, the Gatorade Co. announced Gretchen Hoekstre of Seaside High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Oregon girls track and field Athlete of the Year.
Hoekstre is the first Seaside athlete to be chosen as a Gatorade Athlete of the Year.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track.
Hoekstre joins an elite alumni association of state track and field award-winners, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa) and Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School).
The 6-foot-2 senior won both the discus and the shot put at the Class 4A state meet this past season, launching the discus 156 feet, 11 inches and hurling the shot 43-8 ¾. Hoekstre’s season-best effort of 50-1 ½ in the shot put ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2019.
Also a talented musician, Hoekstre is a youth leader in her church and has volunteered on behalf of a nursing home and special needs students in her community.
“When we first approached Gretchen to come out for the sport, she resisted, saying she needed to concentrate on basketball,” said Seaside coach Jeff Kilday. “When she finally did come by as a sophomore, she nearly broke the school record on her first attempt with the shot put. My throwing coach immediately came over and said, ‘This one is special—we may never see another one this gifted again.’”
Hoekstre has maintained a 3.62 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a national letter of intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at Brigham Young University beginning 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 sports, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Hoekstre joins recent Gatorade Oregon girls track and field Athletes of the Year Shelby Moran (2017-18, Sherwood), Deshae Wise (2016-17, Grants Pass), Ella Donaghu (2015-16 and 2013-14, Grant) and Maddie Rabing (2014-15, Lakeridge) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Hoekstre also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.