The Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Michael Slagowski
School: Rocky Mountain (Meridian, Idaho)
Weight: 130 pounds
Athletic achievement: The distance talent won three individual titles this spring, leading the Mounties to the team title at the Class 5A state meet. Slagowski took first in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:49.36, the 1600-meter run in 4:16.76 and the 3200-meter run in 9:36.86. A six-time individual state champion, he became just the ninth prep runner in U.S. history to run a sub-four-minute mile, which he accomplished at the Jesuit Twilight Relays in Portland, Ore. in April with a time of 3:59.53. Slagowski also won the 1600 at the Pasco Invitational, crossing the line in 4:03.97, which ranked as the nation’s No. 2 performance among prep competitors in 2016 at the time of his selection. Against a field of pro competitors in May’s Prefontaine Classic, Slagowski clocked a 3:59.78 to become he first prep to break four minutes twice in the same outdoor season since Jim Ryun in 1965.
Academic excellence: Slagowski has maintained a 3.32 GPA.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Idaho Food Bank and has also served as a YMCA advisory board member.
“To be a good distance runner, it takes determination, talent, work ethic and belief in your ability,” said Rocky Mountain distance coach Bob Hayes. “Michael Slagowski has all these qualities and more. He is a combination of speed and endurance which makes him a very talented runner.”
THE FUTURE: Slagowski has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at Penn State University this fall.