A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Kenzo Cotton
School: Papillion-La Vista (Papillion, Neb.)
Weight: 190 pounds
Athletic achievement: Cotton won the 200-meter dash in a state-record time of 21.30 seconds and captured the 100-meter dash in 10.40 at the Class A state meet this spring, leading the Monarchs to a second-place finish as a team. A 2012 First Team All-State selection, he completed an undefeated season in both the 100 and the 200 in 2012.
Academic excellence: Cotton has maintained a 3.72 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Health Occupations Students of America, an area homeless shelter and as a youth camp counselor.
“Kenzo Cotton is a breath of fresh air in the sport of track and field in Nebraska,” said Bob White, head coach at Lincoln (Neb.). “As a high school sophomore, he is already competing at the level of some of the best athletes in the United States. I believe he will continue to excite Nebraska track fans for the next two years and beyond.”
THE FUTURE: Cotton will begin his junior year of high school this fall.