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: Vernon Turner
School: Yukon (Okla.)
Weight: 170 pounds
Athletic achievement: He won the high jump at the Class 6A state meet this past season, breaking the state record with a clearance of 7 feet, 4.5 inches. Turner’s season-best clearance ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2016 at the time of his selection and is the highest by a high school athlete in the last seven years. He also won the high jump at the regional championships, the Central Oklahoma Conference meet, the Midwest City Invitational, the Yukon Classic, the Yukon Sundowner meet, the Zebra Invitational and the Bishop McGuinness Invitational.
Academic excellence: Turner has maintained a 3.31 GPA.
Exemplary character: Also a basketball standout, he has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports camps.
“I basically grabbed Vernon out of the hallway his freshman year and guilt-tripped him into coming out for track,” said Yukon jumps coach Kevin Ritter. “He’s really only jumped for two months a year since then, and he’s gone from five feet in his first meet to No. 1 in the country in the span of 27 meets.”
THE FUTURE: Turner will begin his senior year of high school this fall.