Gatorade announced via official press release on Monday morning that Justin Braun is the recipient of Ohio's 'Track and Field Player of the Year' award for 2019 - 2020.
Traditionally the honor is based on performances from the recent outdoor season, but, due to the Covid-19 induced cancellation of all spring sports, this year consideration was geared heavily toward achievements from the winter indoor schedule.
And what an indoor campaign Braun put together! After cruising through the regular portion of the calendar, individually, the sophomore phenom pocketed OATCCC Division 1 state titles in the 200 and 400 and team-wise, he anchored his Thomas Worthington 4x400 relay squad to the state meet victory.
Additionally, he led the Cardinals to a runner-up finish in the overall standings, narrowly behind the champions from Olentangy Orange. His 46.77 clocking in the open 400 represented a US No. 1 mark, which stood for the entirety of the 2020 season.
Again, due to the unprecedented circumstances with high school sports nation-wide being put on hiatus over the past several months, Gatorade decided to also place emphasis on 2019 outdoor results as well athletes' career body of work when choosing this year's winners.
Last June, at the OHSAA State Championship, Braun earned the 400 win, as a freshman, with a 46.76 effort. He then went on to capture the AAU Junior Olympic Games triumph in the same event for the 15-16 division by registering a 47.22 mark.
The exemplary times on Braun's resume speak for themselves, but moving beyond just statistics, he's an athlete who exudes noticeable joy when taking to the track. Widely admired by his fellow competitors, as well as the state's coaches, Braun is quick to congratulate his teammates and those who he toes the line against. He prides himself on being a student of the sprinting game and he frequently pays tribute to those have who aided in his development.
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After reflecting on today's news, Braun shared his thoughts with MileSplit.
"I am beyond grateful to be named 2019 - 2020 Ohio Gatorade Track and Field Player of the Year. In a state so rich with highly talented athletes, I am humbled to be this year's honoree."
"I would first like to thank my family for supporting me through this journey whether I win or lose. Second, my coaches for giving me the tools needed to compete at this level. And lastly, a shout out to my teammates and friends. Whether it's cheering me on through the last 50 meters or running workouts with me, your support means everything to me."
"While I did not have many opportunities this season, this award makes me more determined and excited for upcoming years than ever, and I hope to continue making history."
-- Justin Braun
Official Press Release -