In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Ian Schultz of Fargo North High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade North Dakota Baseball Player of the Year. Schultz is the first Gatorade North Dakota Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Fargo North High School.
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, distinguishes Schultz as North Dakota's best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Schultz joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Roy Halladay (1994-95, Arvada West HS, Colo.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman HS, Tenn.), Chipper Jones (1989-90, Bolles School, Fla.), Derek Lee (1992-93, El Camino HS, Calif.) and John Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Prep, Wash.).
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior right-handed pitcher and outfielder led the Spartans to a 21-11 record and a berth in the Class A Eastern Dakota Conference semifinals, scheduled for May 23. At the time of his selection, Schultz owned a 4-1 record with a 0.23 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched. A two-time All-Eastern Dakota Conference selection, Schultz batted .373 with 17 stolen bases, 22 RBI and 32 runs scored through 32 games.
Schultz has maintained a 4.04 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of his school's student council and DECA chapter, he has fostered dogs for the local humane society in addition to volunteering as part of Fargo North's Student Ambassadors education-outreach program. He has also donated his time as a youth baseball instructor as well as fundraising in association with the Walk for Mitochondrial Disease.
"Ian is very special in that he is very humble and is our leader both on and off the field," said Fargo North head coach Jeff Fiechtner. "Everyone gravitates to him. He is a leader with integrity and character."
Schultz will complete his technical training for the Air National Guard before attending North Dakota State University beginning in the fall of 2015.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia 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 & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Schultz joins recent Gatorade North Dakota Baseball Players of the Year Ellery Bresnahan (2012-13, Central Cass High School), Andy Young (2011-12, West Fargo High School), David Ernst (2010 - 11 & 2009-10, Fargo South High School), Cole Frenzel (2008-09, Dickinson), Zac Elgie (2007-08, Minot), and Tanner Lorenz (2006-2007, Harvey) among the state's list of former award winners.