AIA Executive Board: AIA sports at all levels are cancelled for the remainder of the school year.

Seth Polansky
Sports Information Coordinator

Highland's Leo Daschbach runs his way to Arizona Gatorade Boys Track & Field Player of the Year

June 24, 2019 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365

CHICAGO (June 24, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Leo Daschbach of Highland High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Arizona Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Daschbach is the second Gatorade Arizona Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Highland 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 Daschbach as Arizona’s best high school boys track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Daschbach joins an elite alumni association of state track & field award-winners, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).

The state’s Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, the 5-foot-10, 143-pound junior won the 800-meter run, the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run at the Division I state meet this past season, leading the Hawks to a second-place finish as a team. Daschbach also ran the anchor leg for Highland’s state-record-setting 4x800-meter relay quartet. Daschbach finished third in the mile run at the Brooks PR Invitational with a time of 4:03.98 which ranked No. 4 in the nation among prep competitors in 2019 at the time of his selection. He also ranked in the Top 10 nationally in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Daschbach participated in the Arizona Athletic Association Student Leadership Conference earlier this year. He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth soccer programs. “Leo is hands-down the best distance runner in Arizona,” said Chris Hanson, head coach of Desert Vista High. “There is no lead big enough to outlast Leo’s amazing kick.”

Daschbach has maintained a weighted 4.23 GPA in the classroom. He will begin his senior year of high school 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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

Daschbach joins recent Gatorade Arizona Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year Tyson Jones (2017-18, Desert Edge High School), Turner Washington (2016-17, Canyon del Oro High School), Connor Stevens (2015-16, Hamilton High School), Carlos Villarreal (2014-15, Rio Rico High School) and Robert Grant (2013-14, Brophy College Preparatory) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Daschbach also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate studentathletes, visit, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at