It’s been a long time since a male athlete from an area school received the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year Award for the state of Illinois, but Marcellus Moore has finally ended that drought.
The Plainfield North sophomore sensation received the 2018 Illinois award for boys track and field, according to an announcement that was released by the organization this week.
Moore turned in an impressive showing at the IHSA Class 3A finals in Charleston, winning both the 100 and 200 meters while anchoring first-place 4x100 and 4x200 relays. His 100 time was a state-best 10.31 seconds, and he also ran on a record-setting 4x100 relay (41.29). Thanks to the school’s first state titles in the sport, the Tigers took third as a team to claim their first trophy.
It’s thought that the last time that a local male athlete was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois was in 2004, when Minooka baseball player Gary Perinar received the prestigious honor.
It’s even been several years since any local athlete picked up the honor. It’s also believed that it last happened in 2011-12, when Bolingbrook’s Morgan Tuck received the award for girls basketball, and Lincoln-Way East’s Aaliyah Brown was recognized as the Illinois Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year later that school year.
Only 12 boys and girls athletes apiece who competed at area schools have received the Gatorade Player of the Year award since it was first awarded in 1985.
A devoted member of his church community, Moore has volunteered locally on behalf of Feed My Starving Children, Cradles to Crayons and a youth football program.
“Marcellus Moore is a sprint phenom, and he’s still only 15 years old,” Plainfield North coach Tony Holler said. “He’s humble and he always puts team first. Despite being a young sophomore, he’s already serving as our team captain.”
Moore has maintained a weighted 4.32 GPA in the classroom. He will begin his junior year of high school this fall. He recently took sixth in the 100 in the USATF Outdoor Championships.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Moore will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.
Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. Twelve spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.