In its 35th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced AJ Green of Eastview High School as its 2019-20 Gatorade Minnesota Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Green is the first Gatorade Minnesota Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Eastview 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 Green as Minnesota's best high school boys track & field athlete.
The state's returning Gatorade Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year, the 5-foot-11, 147-pound senior was named the 2020 St. Paul Downtown Lions Club Male Amateur Athlete of the Year. Green took fourth in the 800-meter run at the USATF Under-20 National Championships last summer, a month after winning the 800 at the Brooks PR Invitational. Green also won the 2019 Class AA outdoor state title in the 800. His personal-best clocking of 1:49.83 in the event ranked as the nation's No. 3 time among prep competitors in the 2019 outdoor season.
Green has volunteered locally at a food bank and homeless shelter, and he has donated his time at a senior center and as a youth basketball coach. "Watching AJ race throughout the year, he took a conservative approach to many of his races to prepare for the championship and national races," said Adam Lippold, head coach of Farmington High. "We didn't even see his true talents until he competed nationally."
Green has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at the University of Kansas.
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 work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Two-time winner Green joins recent Gatorade Minnesota Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year Samuel Moore (2017- 18, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale), Jake Kubiatowicz (2016-17, North High School), Jaret Carpenter (2015-16, Wayzata High School), Joe Klecker (2014-15, Hopkins High School), and Payton Otterdahl (2013-14, Rosemount High School) among the state's list of former award winners.