Gavin Sawchuk - CO Gatorade Player of the Year
For the second year in a row, Valor Christian running back Gavin Sawchuk has been named the 5A Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year. Sawchuk, a senior and University of Oklahoma commit, first won the award after his junior season in 2020.
"It's very exciting and a real honor," Sawchuk said. "I'm so blessed to be able to win twice in my career. I'm thankful for my teammates, coaches, friends, family and teachers for helping me through this process."
This past season saw the Eagles finish 14-1, winning the 5A Metro League Championship and finishing as State Runners-up. Sawchuk had a record breaking season, bringing in 28 touchdowns, including two receiving touchdowns. Along the way he surpassed Christian McCaffrey's school record for career rushing yards (5340), which has been held by McCaffrey since 2013. Gavin finished his high school career with a total of 5,274 rushing yards, 2004 of which came from the 2021 season.
But being named a Gatorade Player of the Year takes more than just talent on the field. As stated on their website, the Gatorade Player of the Year award was "established to recognize the nation's most elite high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement, and exemplary character."
Gavin has maintained a 3.64 GPA and is heavily involved in the Valor student community, serving in a large capacity on the Valor Student Leadership team.
"No one has to give Gavin a title to see how much of a leader he is. It is evident in how he conducts his life," Student Leadership Coordinator Ashley Loaize said. "Gavin is a humble, well-rounded, mature, positive influencer of not only his peers, but everyone around him. He has always had a heart to organically mentor other guys, by standing firm for his values and having high expectations of himself. He leads by example in his faith, his attitude, and his resolve to treat all people as valuable and loved. Football is only one of a million ways God has gifted this kid to move and shake the world for His glory."
Sawchuk first started making waves and getting noticed towards the end of his freshman season. In his first two notable appearances, Gavin had a total of 33 carries for 420 yards and three touchdowns. But he really started to turn heads during a playoff matchup against ThunderRidge, where he tallied 24 carries for 117 yards and five touchdowns. The Eagles won that game 34-7, and Gavin was the only player to find the end zone that day.
Amidst all of his accomplishments over the past four years, Gavin has exemplified what it means to be a team player.
"Of course I want to shout out my O-Line, without them I wouldn't be able to accomplish the goals I've set and make it to where I am today," Sawchuk said. "All my team has been very supportive, and have motivated me to be the best I can be. I am grateful for the brotherhood we have built."
Brotherhood has taken on an even stronger meaning the past two seasons, as sophomore Gabe Sawchuk, Gavin's younger brother, has also stepped onto the playing field.
"It's been amazing to watch Gabe develop as a player and as a man. It's special, being able to give him tips and see how he's grown so much as a player," Gavin said. "He has lots of potential and it's been really cool watching him just scratch the surface of what he's capable of."
The Valor Christian football program will graduate 30 seniors in the class of 2022. Over the past four seasons, this senior class has posted a 44-4 overall record, has claimed four League Championships, two State Runners-Up, and a State Championship. As of the time of this article, six seniors, including Sawchuk, have committed to playing Division 1 college football next year.
"I believe our senior class will leave a legacy of excellence in everything we do, whether that's sports, academics, serving others, etc.," Gavin said. "I hope younger classes can continue to build off of that foundation and make an even better legacy in years to come."
Gavin has set and broken records that will likely stand for a very long time. He has remained committed to his academics, has been a leader among his peers, and has proudly proclaimed his faith. To him, there's so much more to life than just football.
"The most important lesson I've learned is that people don't remember what you do, but how you make them feel," Gavin said. "For me, it's important to treat everyone right and make sure I'm not just seen as the football player, but as a caring person that has more to offer than just his skills on the field."