EVANSVILLE, April 4, 2018 — In its second full season, Indiana Boys Cross Country Gatorade State Player of the Year, Matthew Schadler, awarded Memorial High School’s Dylan Barnes Endowment with a grant as a part of the Gatorade Play it Forward initiative.

Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Gatorade Play It Forward aims to assist youth sports programs in funding by empowering Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants that help young athletes reap the benefits of sport.

“Gatorade is proud to award this endowment for Memorial High School’s late cross-country coach with a Play It Forward grant on behalf of Matthew Schadler,” says Forrest Johnson, Assistant Marketing Manager for Gatorade Player of the Year. “We look forward to seeing the endowment continue to positively impact the youth of their community.”

“We are honored to receive a grant from Gatorade’s Play It Forward program, which was awarded to us to better the opportunities for youth participation in cross-county and track & field in the Evansville community”, says  Charles Roberts, Director of Athletics at Memorial High School. “Our late coach, Dylan Barnes, was a true advocate for the sport at every level.  He was a supporter and role model for each youth runner he came in contact with, offering encouragement for the next challenge they may face.  It is our hope, the Gatorade grant will provide resources necessary to lift the sport in a positive way, just as Dylan did.  Thank you to Matthew and his family for their work in this endeavor.”

All 607 Gatorade State Player of the Year recipients are awarded a grant to donate to the organization of their choosing. Each Player of the Year is then given the opportunity to submit an essay about why their chosen organization is deserving of a Spotlight Grant, which is a larger monetary award. Gatorade awards twelve Spotlight Grants, one for each sport recognized by the Player of the Year program.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow the conversation on Twitter #GatoradePOY. For more on Gatorade Play It Forward, the Gatorade Player of the Year, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit


About Gatorade Player of the Year

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in Washington D.C. 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 and field; and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. In addition to athletic excellence, the award recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.

Play It Forward is Gatorade’s cause marketing platform, which empowers every one of the Gatorade Player of the Year award winners to choose a local or national youth sport organization to receive a $1,000 grant from Gatorade.