Cole Hocker capped off a stellar senior cross country campaign with a win in San Diego at Foot Locker Nationals. All eyes have been on the Indianapolis Cathedral senior as he has just blazed through every course he's run, barely being challenged in the Midwest. He faced his first and only loss of the season at Nike Cross Nationals, taking 2nd to Liam Anderson of California. Hocker recently announced he will be taking his talents to the University of Oregon next fall. It seemed like the obvious and only choice for him to be named this year's Indiana Gatorade Runner of the Year.
CHICAGO (February 11, 2019) - In its 34th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Cole Hocker of Cathedral High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Indiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Hocker is the first Gatorade Indiana Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Cathedral High School.
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 Hocker as Indiana's best high school boys cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February, Hocker joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park High School, Ill.), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Ill.).
The 5-foot-10, 140-pound senior raced to the national championship this past season with a time of 15:13.7 at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. Hocker also won the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships in 16:03.2 and the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships in 15:06.4, and took second nationally at the NXN Final. He broke the tape first at the state championship meet in 15:25.1.
Also a talented musician, Hocker has volunteered locally on behalf of a homeless outreach initiative and a tutoring program for elementary school children who take English as a second language. "Cole has a sheer determination to be the best that he can be, each and every day," said Cathedral High School coach Jim Nohl. "He works hard at every practice and he's a team player in every sense of the word."
Hocker has maintained a 3.22 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in cross country and track and field on scholarship at the University of Oregon 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 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. 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.
Hocker joins Gatorade Indiana Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year Matthew Schadler (2017-18, Reitz Memorial High School), Curtis Eckstein (2016-17, Oldenburg Academy), Ben Veatch (2015-16 & 2014-15, Carmel High School), and Jackson Bertoli (2013-14, Terre Haute South Vigo High School) as athletes who have won the cross country award since its inception in 2007.
As a part of Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Hocker has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He 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.
Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.