Two of the ten finalists for this year's Wendy's High School Heisman award are seniors from Colorado high schools.
Telluride's Soleil Gaylord is a finalist for the girls award, while Longmont's Brandon Staple is a finalist for the boys award. Both will attend Heisman Weekend in New York City, with the winner announced on Dec. 8 during the Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.
The one boys and one girls will will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship, and the four finalists who do not win will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Gaylord is a multi-sport athlete who competes in track and cross country, who is also student body president at Telluride.
She is the two-time defending champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races at the 2A state track meet, and also finished second in the 800 last season. Gaylor was also part of Telluride's championship-winning 4x800 relay.
Gaylord finished second at last month's 2A state cross country championships, and was named first-team all-state earlier this week. She was fifth as a junior, third as a sophomore, and seventh as a freshman.
Outside of high school athletics, Gaylord has also competed in the World Mountain Running Championships, and is a World Champion snowshoe runner.
She is passionate about the environment. From the release announcing Gaylord as a finalist:
She presents to her town government two times a year about a native species garden that she designed and maintains on 500 acres of protected land. She also founded a program to save and rebuild Telluride’s Monarch butterfly population, and works in her school’s greenhouse to promote healthy eating and supply low-income families with fresh produce. In everything she does, Soleil passionately believes in putting in the hard work. As her long list of accomplishments shows, the rewards are well worth the effort.
Staple is also a multi-sport athlete, competing in soccer and track for Longmont.
In his recently-completed high school soccer career, Staple scored 29 goals and had 13 assists in 52 games played. That included a senior campaign where he led the Trojans with 15 goals.
Last season, Staple was named second-team all-state in Class 4A. This year's all-state boys soccer teams have not yet been announced.
Outside of athletics, Staple is a leader of a variety of math and science clubs at Longmont. He plans to start the orthopedic surgery study program at Stanford after he graduates.
He's also heavily involved and interested in solving social problems. From the press release announcing Staple as a finalist:
Brandon is committed to doing his part to solve social problems as well. Leveraging his love of technology, he came up with a plan to create an app that promotes positive police-youth engagements in his own neighborhood. He’s working to improve conditions much further from home, too. After visiting his father’s native country of Jamaica, and witnessing kids playing soccer in the streets with no shoes, Brandon started a program to provide soccer gear for underprivileged Jamaican youth. Every Christmas, he works with his soccer team and the local community to gather old uniforms, cleats, and balls. Then, Brandon ships the items to Jamaica to be distributed to those in need.