Telluride senior Soleil Gaylord was named this year’s female Wendy’s High School Heisman winner on Friday.
The prestigious national award honors high school seniors who give back to their communities, treat people with respect, seek to continue their education, and excel in athletics.
Gaylord was one of five national female finalists for the award. Longmont’s Brandon Staple was one of the five male finalists. The male winner was Jackson Destine of Delray Beach, Fla.
For winning, Gaylord will receive a $10,000 college scholarship. Staple will receive a $5,000 scholarship for being a finalist.
Gaylord is the first Colorado winner of the Wendy’s High School Heisman since Wiggins’ Kyle Pollock won in 2009.
Gaylord is a multi-sport athlete who competes in track and cross country, and is also the 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. Gaylord was also part of Telluride’s championship-winning 4×800 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.