Two area athletes have been honored by The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA Today High School Sports, as being the top track and field athletes in the state this spring.
On June 20, Desmond Palmer of Pickerington North was named the Gatorade Ohio Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year and Olentangy Orange's Katelyn Daniels was named Gatorade Ohio Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Both are 2013 graduates.
Palmer, a University of Pittsburgh signee, helped to score 40 of North's 47 points in the Division I state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State, as the Panthers finished as the state runners-up behind Lakewood St. Edward (62) as 62 teams scored.
Palmer won state championships in the 110-meter hurdles (14.03 seconds) and 300 hurdles (36.31) and anchored the winning 800 relay (1:26.14) and the first-place 1,600 relay (3:14.73).
His state-meet time in the 300 hurdles ranked third in the nation in 2013 at the time of Gatorade's announcement.
Palmer also won district and regional titles in all four events and OCC-Ohio Division titles in both hurdle events this season.
"Desmond has great talent and ability athletically, but it's his character that I will remember long after he's gone," North boys coach David Spring said. "He's the most humble, hard-working and coachable athlete I have had in many years."
A Michigan State signee, Daniels won Division I state titles in the discus and shot put for the second consecutive year. She threw a personal-record 161 feet, 7 inches in the discus and a state-record 51-2 in the shot put.
Daniels, who also won OCC-Capital, district and regional titles in both events this season, was the lone state qualifier for Orange and earned 20 points at state for the Pioneers, who tied Reynoldsburg for fifth behind champion Solon (47) as 74 teams scored.
"Katelyn works hard every day of the year," Orange girls coach Ingrid Simpson said. "She really performs in those big meets; she loves that pressure. She's just a phenomenal athlete and a fantastic young lady."
Palmer and Daniels are finalists for Gatorade's boys and girls National Track and Field Athlete of the Year awards.
This is the 28th year in which The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, has been honoring the nation's best high school athletes.
—From staff reports