Tinoda Matsatsa: Maryland Gatorade Athlete of the Year

Tinoda Matsatsa showed this year that he is the best distance runner in Maryland and one of the best in the United States. He is the first Maryland athlete to run under 4 minutes in the mile and was the National 800m champion this outdoor season. Check out the press release highlighting these achievements and more below! 


CHICAGO (June 29, 2023) -- In its 38th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Tinoda Matsatsa of St. Andrew's Episcopal School is the 2022-23 Gatorade Maryland Boys Track & Field Player of the Year. Matsatsa is the first Gatorade Maryland Boys Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from St. Andrew's Episcopal 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 Matsatsa as Maryland's best high school boys track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Matsatsa joins an elite alumni association of state awardwinners in 12 sports, including Nico Young (2019-20, Newbury Park High School, Calif.), Michael Norman (2015-16 & 2014-15, Vista Murrieta High School, Calif.), Grant Fisher (2014-15 & 2013-14, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas).

The 5-foot-9, 135-pound senior became just the 20th runner in prep history to break the 4-minute mile threshold this past season. Matsatsa set a state record at the HOKA Festival of Miles, snapping the tape in 3:58.70, which ranked No. 3 nationally among prep competitors in 2023. Less than two weeks later, he won the 800-meter run at the Brooks PR Invitational, then capped his dream season four days afterwards by winning the national title in the event at New Balance Nationals Outdoor with a state-record and 2023 No. 1 national time of 1:47.61. Matsatsa has volunteered locally helping the unhoused and underprivileged on behalf of Shepard's Table, an organization committed to improving quality of life, creating a pathway toward self-sufficiency and inspiring hope for the most vulnerable in the surrounding community. He's also a devoted parishioner at the Christian Life Center near Frederick, Md., serving as an active member of the youth group there. "No middle-distance/distance guy in the country closed out this spring with more momentum than Matsatsa," said Rich Gonzalez, editor of PrepCalTrack.com. "Principally a regional standout entering the national postseason, he rocked to national prominence at top-caliber meets. The end result? Only one athlete in U.S. prep history ranks among the Top 8 alltime at both 800 and the mile, and it's Matsatsa!"

Matsatsa has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on scholarship at Georgetown University this fall.

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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.

Matsatsa joins recent Gatorade Maryland Boys Track & Field Players of the Year Judson Lincoln IV (2021-22, Oakland Mills High School), Baidy Ba (2020-21, Oakland Mills High School), Ashton Allen (2019-20, Bullis School), and Andre Turay (2018-19, Bullis School), among the state's list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade's Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade's social impact partners, supporting Gatorade's ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners' grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations. For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate studentathletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade. ###