Cullen Prena of Walled Lake Central High School - 2012-13 Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year
by RunMichigan Staff, Jun. 21, 2013
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WALLED LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL STANDOUT NAMED GATORADE MICHIGAN BOYS TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
CHICAGO (June 20, 2013) — In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Cullen Prena of Walled Lake Central High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Prena is the first Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Walled Lake Central 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 Prena as Michigan’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, Prena joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Ryan Hall (1999-01, Big Bear HS, Calif.), Meb Keflezighi (1993-94, San Diego HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.) and Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt HS, Ia.).
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior launched the discus a state-record 210 feet, 1 inch at the Div. 1 state meet this spring, which ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2013 at the time of his selection. Prena also won the shot put with a throw of 60-11, leading the Vikings to fourth place as a team.
Prena has maintained a 3.57 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally raising funds for children’s hospitals.
“Cullen is the most dominant thrower the state of Michigan has ever produced,” said Walled Lake Central coach Nebojsa Stojkovic. “He shattered the state record by over 12 feet. He’s the total package. An outstanding leader in competition as well as in the classroom.” Prena has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on an athletic scholarship at the University of Oregon 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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Prena joins recent Gatorade Michigan Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year Garret Zuk (2011-12, Lakeland High School), Dartis Willis (2010–11, Detroit Country Day School), Omar Kaddurah (2009-10, Grand Blanc), Michael Atchoo (2008–09, Troy), Tommy Brinn (2007-08, Otsego), and Josh Hembrough (2006-2007, Forest Hills Northern) among the state’s list of former award winners.
To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.