Justin Forde of Brien McMahon High School has been selected the 2017-18 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
Forde is the second Gatorade Connecticut Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from McMahon 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 track, distinguishes Forde as Connecticut’s best high school boys track & field athlete, according to Gatorade’s release.
Forde is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced later this month.
The 6-foot-1, 186-pound junior won the triple jump at the State Open with a leap of 49 feet, 6.5 inches. He also captured second place in the high jump. Forde won the long jump (22-2.5) and the triple jump (48-3.75) at the Class LL state meet, and again finished second in the high jump. He took fourth in the triple jump at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor and his season-best effort of 7-0 in the high jump at the Middletown Invitational and 50-3.25 in the triple jump both rank among the nation’s top 10 prep performances in 2018 at the time of his selection.
According to Gatorade’s release, Forde has volunteered locally on behalf of youth basketball and track programs.
“Justin has a very high sports IQ and understands his events on a technical level, not just as an athlete doing what his coaches tell him,” Brien McMahon coach Patrick Bradley said in Gatorade’s release. “He’s self-motivated and he pushes himself to be the best.”
Forde has maintained a B average in the classroom. He will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
Recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year are: Tyler Gleen (2016-17, Trumbull High School), Eric van der Els (2015-16, Wilton High School), Spencer Brown (2014-15, Wilton High School), Tyler Latham (2013-14, Fitch High School), Henry Wynne (2012-13, Staples High School), Jake Scinto (2011-12, Cheshire High School), John Wlasuk (2010–11, Newtown High School), Chris FitzSimons (2009-10, Hamden), Cas Loxsom (2008–09, Wilbur Cross), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury), and James Nixon (2006-07, Hyde Leadership School).
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Forde 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. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.
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.