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: Futsum Zeinasellassie
School: North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Athletic achievement: Zeinasellassie broke a 37-year-old meet record and captured his fourth consecutive state title in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 8:51.15 this spring. The Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, he also won the 3,200 at California’s Arcadia Invitational in a record time of 8:47.75 for an Indiana prep, which ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.
Academic excellence: Zeinasellassie has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, where his father is a pastor, he has volunteered with youth track programs and raised funds to benefit a school in Kenya. Zeinasellassie emigrated to the United States from the east African nation of Eritrea (AIR-ih-treeah) as a seventh grader.
“It’s been a humbling experience just working with Futsum,” said North Central distance coach Byron Simpson. “He always does the right thing and he’s always been supportive of everyone else. He’s a kid who I think has a whole lot more left in him.”
THE FUTURE: Zeinasellassie has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in cross country and track and field on scholarship at Northern Arizona University this fall.