In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, the Gatorade Company 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 Gatorade Oregon girls track and field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Seaside 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 track, distinguishes Hoekstre as Oregon’s best high school girls track and field athlete.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Hoekstre joins an elite alumni association of state track and field award-winners, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, California), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 and 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Michigan) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Georgia.).
Gretchen Hoekstre had a record-setting, state title-winning season for the Seaside track team.
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 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.
Hoekstre joins recent Gatorade Oregon Girls Track and Field Athletes of the Year Shelby Moran (2017-18, Sherwood High School), Deshae Wise (2016-17, Grants Pass High School), Ella Donaghu (2015-16 and 2013-14, Grant High School) and Maddie Rabing (2014-15, Lakeridge High School) 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.
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.