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Fernandez Grabs National Honor

The Gatorade Company, in partnership with RISE Magazine, named Riverbank High graduate German Fernandez as its 2007-08 Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

During an elaborate ceremony at the Antigua Event Center in Riverbank, Gatorade representatives were on hand to present Fernandez with the coveted track and field award, placing Fernandez in the running for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year Award.

All of the National winners in the various athletic events recognized by the Gatorade committee will be on the ballot for the prestigious award, to be announced on July 16 during an 11 a.m. luncheon in Hollywood. The award will be announced the day of the ESPY's award show and Fernandez will be in attendance at the star-studded event .

Fans and supporters of Fernandez turned out for the presentation of the Gatorade award in full. Fernandez, displaying his trademark cool demeanor, nonetheless admitted that the marquee event did have him a little bit uneasy.

"I'm really excited and just a little bit nervous," Fernandez said moments before he was presented with the award. "It's a great feeling right now. I am pretty much just living the dream right now and it's been fun."

Gatorade award historian and Scholastic magazine editor Bruce Weber spoke in great detail about the prestigious company that Fernandez is now keeping with the award.

Weber, who has over 20 years invested in the announcing and awarding of Gatorade hardware, also made mention of the impressive turnout in support and appreciation of Fernandez.

"Obviously the room was packed and nobody was here because they had to be here," Weber said. "Everyone was here because they wanted to be here and it shows an outpouring of affection for this young man.

"This whole thing has really been a community effort."

The overwhelming support Fernandez received was almost as impressive as the résumé that the unassuming teen created on his way to national recognition. Throughout his historic athletic achievements, Fernandez has maintained a 3.25 GPA in the classroom.

"There was just such an acceptance in walking in and helping make this such a special day for German," Gatorade official Liz Prassas said. "The presence of the elected officials; the Mayor, really just being able to walk into a community and having them stop what they're doing and show us so much respect is huge.

"German, outside of the track and running, has made an impression on this entire community."