CATONSVILLE — Juliette Whittaker was already making waves and breaking records as a U.S. prep track and field star at Mount De Sales Academy in Catonsville. Now she adds another big victory to her already impressive resume.
She was just named Gatorade's 2021-2022 National Girls Track and Field Player of the Year. She beat out more than half a million other student athletes nationwide to win 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.
A true story of hard work and love of a sport, Whittaker only started running competitively as a freshman in high school, but wasted no time getting up to speed. She was our student athlete of the week back in February 2020 (https://www.wmar2news.com/athlete/student-athlete-of-the-week-juliette-whittaker). The next year she advanced to the 800 meter semifinals at the Olympic Trials, and she currently holds a number of state records and the number 2 record for the 800 in U.S. prep girls history. She recently committed to Stanford to further both her track career and her academics. In high school, she was her class president, maintained a 4.5 GPA, and volunteered at soup kitchens.
Her advice to younger athletes: "Have big goals...if this is an award you want to win...you say that out loud and remind yourself constantly of it...." and most importantly "never lose your love of the sport."
She's in good company as Gatorade's National Girls Track and Field Player of the Year. Past winners of the recognition have a combined total of 71 gold medals and include Allyson Felix, who has the most Olympic titles in women's track history. In other sports, stars such as Lebron James and Peyton Manning have been recognized during their high school careers.