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Gatorade Player of the Year Sam Bass Gives Back to C4K

C4K is proud to be an organization that relies heavily on kids giving back to their community. From the Varsity Board to students across Oklahoma hosting collection drives - we absolutely could not do this without them!

Recently, Sam Bass (Casady '20) found another way to give back. Sam was named one of Gatorade's Players of the Year for his achievements in Cross Country. The program recognizes the most elite high school athletes across the US for their accomplishments on and off the field, not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character. These are all things that C4K champions and participation in sports is a great way foster those characteristics in kids!

As part of his award, Sam was able to choose a local or national youth sports organization to receive a $1,000 grant from Gatorade through the brand’s Play It Forward program and we are so thankful he selected Cleats for Kids!

Gatorade’s Play It Forward initiative empowers all 607 Gatorade Player of the Year recipients to award a $1,000 grant from Gatorade to a community organization that helps next generation of athletes benefit from sports. This generous grant will go directly to C4K programming that gets more kids involved in sports by providing the equipment needed to participate in sports free of charge.

We asked Sam a few questions about his experience as an athlete. Read our interview below!

How long have you been running cross country?
I have been running cross country since 7th grade.

What events do you run? Which is your favorite?
In cross country everyone runs a 5k. In track I run the 800 meters (half-mile), 1600 meters (mile), and the 3200 meters (2 mile). My favorite is the 3200 because it’s perfect for the type of runner I am. It’s the ideal race where speed and strength are necessary for a fast result.

What sorts of training habits do you try to stick to?
I try to be very disciplined in my training. I run 6-7 days a week, which usually amounts to 45-65 miles. I train year-round, only taking off a total of 1-2 weeks the whole year. I especially emphasize the recovery side. I do a lot of stretching, foam rolling, ice baths, compression, and get a lot of sleep.

Tell me more about your cross country team and coach – what makes your group successful?
Our cross country team is successful because we all believe in each other and believe in the program. We know that if you listen to the coach you will run well. Also having other teammates to push one another in practice and hold each other accountable makes training much more fun and effective.

What is your favorite subject in school and why?
My favorite subject in school is math, I'm currently taking Pre-Calculus 2. I like objective learning; understanding math concepts and solving problems gives me a sense of accomplishment. I also really like my teacher.

Are sports and school work connected for you? Like – if you do well in one arena do you find it affecting other parts of your life?
I do think school and sports are connected. I find that working hard in running correlates to working hard in school and always wanting to improve.

Do you think sports can help kids? In what ways?
I think sports can be very helpful to kids because they are a great way to help in shape, find a healthy headspace, make new friends, and learn lessons that can be applied the rest of their lives.

How did you first find out about C4K?
I found out about C4K when I was in elementary school because I went to school with some of the McDaniel kids.

What made you choose C4K as your charity recipient?
I chose C4K because I have seen what they have done for the community. I thought it would be great to assist their efforts to make sports equipment more accessible for kids in Oklahoma City.

If you had one piece of advice to give to athletes just starting out, what would it be?
My advice for athletes just starting out would be to just have fun and enjoy it. Before success and reward, you must enjoy what you’re doing because that passion is going to drive you to work hard.


To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY