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Thomas named Gatorade Illinois Baseball Player of Year

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MC junior Alek Thomas is the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Illinois.

MC junior Alek Thomas is the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Illinois.

MC junior Alek Thomas is the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Illinois.

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The Gatorade Company announced today that Mount Carmel junior Alek Thomas has been selected as the 2016-17 Gatorade Illinois Baseball Player of the Year.  Thomas is the first player in MC history to be selected for this honor.

According to Mount Carmel President Ned Hughes, this is “truly a great recognition for Alek, and well deserved.”  Athletic Director Dan Lacount concurred with Hughes, adding that Thomas is “an amazing student-athlete.”

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 Thomas as Illinois’s best high school baseball player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Thomas joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, Mich.), Jon Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Wash.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman High School, Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-2007, Seaton Hall Preparatory School, N.J.) and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Bonanza High School, Nev.).

The 5-foot-11, 179-pound junior outfielder led the Caravan to a 26-10 record this season, compiling a .470 batting average with five triples, 11 home runs, 43 RBI and 59 runs scored through 35 games. He was an All-State honoree as a sophomore, as well as a Rawlings/Perfect Game First Team Underclass All-American.  He also was selected to USA TODAY’s American Family Insurance ALL-USA Illinois First Team.

Thomas, who has maintained a 3.84 GPA through junior year, has raised funds to benefit inner-city sports programs and has volunteered locally on behalf of the PLAY campaign, which combats childhood obesity.

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.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Alek will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.

 

 

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Thomas named Gatorade Illinois Baseball Player of Year