CHICAGO (April 15, 2021) — In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Kamari Miller of Marietta High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Player of the Year. Miller is the first Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Marietta 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 Miller as Georgia’s best high school boys cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in April, Miller joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10, Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Ill.).
The 6-foot-3-inch, 154-pound senior distance talent led the Blue Devils to the GHSA Class 7A state title this past season, breaking the tape in the state meet with a time of 15.29.72 to win by almost 38 seconds seconds. Miller won eight of nine meets and broke the course record on four racecourses. His personal-best clocking of 14:37.19 to finish 5th at the RunningLane National Cross Country Championships earned him First Team All-American status. Also the Atlanta Track Club 2020 All-Metro Runner of the Year, he captured the prestigious Coach Wood Invitational and the Alexander / Asics Invitational, and finished 4th nationally in the final 2020 MileSplit50 boys cross country rankings. His state meet speed rating, according to Dyestat and TullyRunners.comm, ranked No. 6 nationally.
An AB Honor Roll student and a Lamp of Knowledge Medal winner in biology as a sophomore, Miller serves as a team leader on behalf of the Whisper youth group at his school by working to build a more supportive student body culture. “Kamari is the model competitor and team leader,” said Hillgrove High head coach Jonathan Gambrell. “During the past four years of competing against him, he has always given his best effort despite the conditions and circumstances, or when things may or may not be going his way. He is as humble as they come and strives to lift his teammates up to higher levels of success. Kamari’s dominating senior season came after a junior season that did not live up to his own expectations. Instead of giving up, he persevered and used it to fuel him to become a better version of himself.”
Miller has maintained a 3.12 weighted GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to run on scholarship at Syracuse University 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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Miller joins recent Gatorade Georgia Boys Cross Country Players of the Year Graham Blanks (2019-20, Athens Academy), Kyle Harkabus (2018-19, East Coweta High School), Sam Bowers (2017-18, Milton High School), and Jacob McLeod (2016-17, Trinity Christian School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Miller has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Miller is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
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.playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.