CHICAGO (February 12, 2018) — In its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Michael Phillips of Chiles High School as its 2017-18 Gatorade Florida Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Phillips is the first Gatorade Florida Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Chiles 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 Phillips as Florida’s best high school boys cross country runner.

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Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January, Phillips joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11, 2009-10 Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Prep., San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Donn Cabral (2007-08, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, Conn.) and Chris Derrick (2007-08, Neuqua Valley, Naperville, Ill.).

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound senior raced to his second consecutive Class 3A individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:14.69, leading the Timberwolves to second place as a team. Phillips also won the Cougar Challenge, the Big Bend Invitational, the Buffalo Invitational, the District 3 championships and the Region 1 championships.

He took second at the Great American Cross Country Festival as well as the Foot Locker South Regional championships and finished 16th at the national Footlocker Cross Country Championships. Phillips has volunteered locally on behalf of charity road races.

“Phillips is very consistent and very tough,” said Andrew Wills, head coach at Leon High. “He’s a humble kid, but a real competitor, just a