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Return of the ROY: Utah's Clayton Young

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Cross Country Runners of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for …

Name: Clayton Young

Position: Distance runner

Grade: Senior

School: American Fork (Utah)

College: Undecided

Height: 5-foot-10

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Utah Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year ... 2010 Class 5A state meet individual champion ... 2010 Class 5A state meet team champion ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional fifth-place finisher ... 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Final 96th-place finisher ... 2009 Class 5A state meet fourth-place finisher

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Academics: 4.0 GPA

Extracurricular activities: Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America ... volunteered at area retirement homes and a local rehabilitation center

American Fork High head coach Timo Mostert: “Clayton has worked really hard ever since his freshman year. He’s always had a leader pulling him along, and when Austin West was injured [last] year, Clayton became a team leader himself.”

Each Gatorade State Runner of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys cross country underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11 …

Ben Saarel JR Park City; Ammon Blauer SR Parowan; Vance Weston SO Rich; MacKenzie Morrison SR American Fork; Tyson Boyer SR Pine View

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf. Candidates are judged upon athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must also demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Any class year is eligible, senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.