MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon track superstar Rai Benjamin has earned yet another national honor, after being named as the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Benjamin, who is one of the top track recruits in the nation, has committed to taking his talents to UCLA when he graduates this week. The award from Gatorade is just the latest in a long line of honors he has earned during his impressive career.
Benjamin, who was hotly sought after, rose from near anonymity to Division-I recruit after joining the track team as a freshman looking to become more explosive on the football team. From there, he led the team to the 2014 Outdoor New Balance National competition, and has broken several school, state and county records.
This spring, he broke a 38-year-old state record in the 400-meter hurdle event, with a time of 50.45 seconds, which he subsequently topped at the National Track and Field Championships with the seventh fastest high school time ever clocked at 49.97 seconds.
Benjamin also holds state records in the 200 and 300-meter indoor dashes. While becoming one of the top track recruits in the nation, Benjamin has maintained a B average to remain in good academic standing while many students in Mount Vernon struggle.
Since dedicating himself solely to track and field and his Olympic aspirations, Benjamin has claimed championships in hurdles and became an all-American in the 400-meter sprint. With him as the anchor of the 800-meter relay team, the Knights set a Section 1 and Westchester County record with a 1:30.05 finish.
The Gatorade company has been celebrating the nation’s top student-athletes with the Player of the Year award, with one athlete in each state in each sport earning the impressive distinction. Former winners include Peyton Manning, Lebron James, Abby Wamback and Kerri Walsh.
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