High School Sports

Grace Christian’s David Sliwinski named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year for boys cross country

After helping the Grace Christian boys cross-country running team reach back-to-back Division II Alaska state championships, David Sliwinski became the second male athlete in program history Friday to be named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year for boys cross-country running. He is the first in over a decade since Jacob Kirk received the honor for the 2009-10 school year.

The award not only recognizes student-athletes for their outstanding feats of athleticism, it also acknowledges excellent academic achievement and exceptionally high character exemplified in and out their respective arenas of competition.

Sliwinski maintained a 4.00 weighted GPA and volunteered in his local community with Operation Christmas Child, the Community Pregnancy Center and the annual Veteran’s Day Reception.

During his time at Grace Christian, he was a part of three state championship-winning teams. On the last two, he led the way with consecutive first-place finishes. In his first career state title, he bested his teammate Seth Lochmann by just four seconds with a time of 16:44 to win in 2021. In his second, he edged out Homer’s Seamus McDonough by just two seconds with a time of 15:55. He also came in first at some notable events such as the Wasilla Trailblazer, Colony XC Invite and the Smokin’ Stampede.

“David Sliwinski capped his decorated prep cross country career in distinguished fashion,” said PrepCalTrack.com editor Rich Gonzalez in a statement. “Clocking the fastest all-divisions performance at the state meet, his performance capped a four-year dynasty which netted three official state team championships to go along with one unofficial team title during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As the Alaska winner, he is a finalist for the national Gatorade National Cross Country Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

Some notable recipients of the award from its previous 37 years include standout college runners Parker Wolfe (2020-21, Cherry Creek High School, Colorado) and Nico Young (2019-20, Newbury Park High School, California), nine-time All-American Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Michigan), and renowned marathon runner Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, California).

Sliwinski also helped the Grizzlies win a track and field state title in the spring of 2022 as a junior after finishing first in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. He will look to defend his title this spring and has yet to decide where he will be competing collegiately.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.