After a record-shattering senior year, perhaps Sydney McLaughlin was not surprised to win her second consecutive Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year award.
The manner in which she received said honor, though? As you can see in the above video, we’re guessing McLaughlin did not see this coming.
The 17-year-old Union Catholic (Scotch Plains, N.J.) star and University of Kentucky commit was surprised Monday with a trophy presentation from six-time gold medalist Allyson Felix in San Francisco. McLaughlin was touring San Francisco after her appearance this past weekend at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., where she improved on her own world junior record by breaking 54 seconds (53.82) in the 400 meter hurdles for the first time in her career. She took sixth in the event.
McLaughlin was the Gatorade National Girls Athlete of the Year last July selected from among the winners in each sport. She is seemingly a favorite to repeat there too.
McLaughlin was a member of the U.S. Olympic team last summer in the 400-meter hurdles as a 16-year-old, becoming the youngest American to make the Olympics in track since 1972.
“I still remember the day I was honored as the Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year and winning the award is one of those moments I’ll never forget,” said Felix in a media release. “Winning this award once is such a rare accomplishment, so to win it again, is exciting for her. I’m glad I was able to be part of today’s celebration by surprising Sydney for the second-straight year.”
Felix, a graduate of Los Angeles Baptist (North Hills, Calif.), won the award in 2003
The weekend before her record-breaking performance in Sacramento, McLaughlin ran a 49.85 400-meter split on the anchor of the Swedish Relay at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. It is believed to be the fastest one-lap split by a schoolgirl in track and field history.
The week before that at the New Jersey Meet of Champions, McLaughlin won the 400-meter hurdles and 400-meter dash, matching a state record with 11 individual career gold medals at the Meet of Champions.