In its 26th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Tori Bliss of Portage High School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Indiana Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Bliss is the first Gatorade Indiana Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Portage 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 Bliss as Indiana’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, Bliss joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Allyson Felix (2001-02, Los Angeles Baptist, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt HS, Ia.) and Bianca Knight (2006-07, Ridgeland HS, Miss.).
The 6-foot senior captured the state championship in the shot put this spring with a state-record throw of 50 feet, nine inches, which ranked as the nation’s No. 1 effort among prep competitors at the time of her selection. A three-time state champ in the event, Bliss also won the shot put at this month’s New Balance Outdoor Nationals for the second consecutive year. Bliss has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom.
She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs, blood-donation drives and a community beautification project. “Tori is just an awesome kid who has done everything her coaches have ever asked,” said Portage High throws coach Mark Harsha. “I think she can do even more; she still has much left to accomplish.” Bliss has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at Louisiana State University this fall.
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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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. Bliss joins recent Gatorade Indiana Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Ellie McCardwell (2009-10 & 2008-09, Pendleton Heights) and Alex Banfich (2007-08, Culver Academies) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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(Editor's Note: Special Tip of the Cap to the Portage Girls' Track & Field Facebook page for passing this along!)