Jaiya Daniels has been named 2022-23 Gatorade New Mexico Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Courtesy photo
GATORADE NEWS RELEASE
In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade has announced Jaiya Daniels of Los Alamos High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade New Mexico Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Daniels is the fourth Gatorade New Mexico Girls Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from Los Alamos 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 field, distinguishes Daniels as New Mexico’s best high school girls track & field athlete.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Daniels joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Jasmine Moore (2018-19, Lake Ridge High School, Texas), Sydney McLaughlin (2016-17, 2015-16 & 2014-15, Union Catholic High School, N.J.), and Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa).
The 5-foot-6 sophomore won the 100- and 200-meter dash, the latter in a personal-best 24.64 seconds, and captured the triple jump title at the Class 4A state meet, leading the Hilltoppers to the team title this past season. Daniels also leaped to a fourth-place finish in the triple jump at the Great Southwest Classic with a distance of 39- 0.5 in addition to competing in all three events at Nike Outdoor Nationals. She ran legs on the fastest 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay quartets in the state in 2023.
Daniels led Black and Women’s History initiatives at Los Alamos, collaborating with school administrators to actively encourage involvement from students of color to support month-long activities and information sharing. She also participated in “Sista Circle,” a two-week symposium focused on empowering the voices of young women and equipping them with the confidence and tools to create positive community change.
Daniels also produced an award-winning short film, “Sister of the Circle,” detailing her journey and growth as a Black girl being raised in New Mexico, which won best documentary among 93 student films as part of the Film Prize Junior New Mexico annual film festival.
“Jaiya Daniels made a significant impact in her first year at Los Alamos after transferring from Chandler High in Arizona,” said Erik Boal, editor at DyeStat.com. “Daniels won three individual state titles and contributed to a pair of relay victories, producing the top marks in New Mexico this season in six events and ranking in the top three in eight overall, a testament to her versatility, selflessness and teamwork.”
Daniels has maintained a B average in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport. Daniels joins recent Gatorade New Mexico Girls Track & Field Players of the Year Yvonne Stinson (2021-22, Alamogordo High School), Ku’upualiliapihamekealoha “Lia” Pili (2020-21, Centennial High School), and Adriana Tatum (2019-20 & 2018-19, Sandia High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations. For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.