By Romi Bean

DENVER (CBS4) – Parker Wolfe beat out nearly 300,000 student athletes nationwide to win the 2021 boys cross country Gatorade Player of the Year award. The Cherry Creek cross country star is the first Coloradan to win in the cross country category.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s pretty special. We have a lot of good runners here, so it means a lot that I was the one to win it out of everyone. I think in the future we’ll win some more,” Wolfe said.

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Earning the Gatorade POY award is an enormous accomplishment on its own. Even moreso considering what Parker has overcome. In July, before the season, Wolfe tested positive for coronavirus.

(credit: CBS)

“I did not know if I’d run again. I tried to train through having COVID and was going on runs at midnight to avoid people. It was pretty miserable. It affected my season a lot. I had to rework everything and start from the bottom up. Working through all those obstacles and being able to still win this award shows how toughness and hard work pays off.”

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With coronavirus threatening his senior season, Wolfe hit the ground running, determined to beat the virus. He prevailed in a big way, claiming a national title, the 5A state title and setting a new state record.

(credit: CBS)

“Coming into the season battling COVID, I did not think I’d be in the place where I was at the end of the season – being a state champion and a national champion. It definitely exceeded all expectations I had,” Wolfe said.

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Up next for Wolfe is competing at the collegiate level for the University of North Carolina.

Romi Bean