CHICAGO (June 25, 2020) -- In its 35th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Courtney Williams of Nerinx Hall High School as its 2019-20 Gatorade Missouri Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Williams is the second Gatorade Missouri Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Nerinx Hall 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 Williams as Missouri's best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Williams joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).
The 5-foot-7 senior won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.60 seconds at the Mizzou High School Indoor Series Championship this past winner in addition to anchoring the winning 4x400 relay quartet. Williams also won the 200 at the Arkansas Invitational. In the 2019 outdoor season, she broke the tape in the 400 at the Class 5 state meet with a class-record time of 54.87. Williams took second in the 100 and third in the 200 at the state meet, then finished eighth in the 200--behind seven collegians--at the USATF U20 Championships.
Also a talented musician and poet, Williams has served as a Spanish tutor in her school and has volunteered locally on behalf of the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, youth track programs and a family crisis center. "Everything Courtney does has a purpose," said Nerinx Hall High School coach Gaylerd Quigley. "Her talent and work ethic are enhanced by her intelligent racing and focus. She's been a great teammate and role model for the younger girls on the team."
Williams has maintained a 4.15 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at Clemson University.
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.
Williams joins recent Gatorade Missouri Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Tyra Wilson (2018-19, Rock Bridge High School), Makayla Kelby (2017-18, Lee's Summit West High School), Alicia Burnett (2016-17, Fort Zumwalt South High School), Sophia Rivera (2015-16, Brentwood High School), Hannah Long (2014-15, Eureka High School), and Taylor Werner (2013-14, Ste. Genevieve High School) among the state's list of former award winners.