Pine Creek High School pitcher named Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year

Photo by Jeff Kearney/The Gazette. (Cropped photo)
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(Gatorade Player of the Year Release) - In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Riley Cornelio of Pine Creek High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Colorado Baseball Player of the Year. Cornelio is the third Gatorade Colorado Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Pine Creek 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 Cornelio as Colorado’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Cornelio joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, Mich.), Jon Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Wash.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman High School, Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-2007, Seaton Hall Preparatory School, N.J.) and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Bonanza High School, Nev.).

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior right-handed pitcher and infielder led the Eagles (17-8) to the Class 5A regional final this past season,
posting a 7-2 record on the hill along with a 2.43 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. A 2018 Under Armour All-American Game selection and a 2018 USA Baseball 18U National Team member, Cornelio also batted .418 with a pair of home runs, 28 RBI and a .512 on-base percentage.

A member of the National Honor Society, Cornelio has volunteered locally on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of America and as an elementary school literacy-outreach program. He has also donated his time as a youth tutor and baseball instructor. “Riley Cornelio has proven to be mentally tough and extremely competitive player,” said Pine Creek head coach Glenn Millhauser. “He takes his commitment to baseball very seriously. He is gifted with great hands, a strong arm, good speed and hits for average and power.”

Cornelio has maintained a weighted 4.12 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at Texas Christian University beginning this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.

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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

Cornelio joins recent Gatorade Colorado Baseball Players of the Year Justin Olson (2017-18, Pine Creek High School), Cole Winn
(2016-17, Silver Creek High School), Paul Tillotson (2015-16, Lewis-Palmer High School), Ryan Madden (2014-15, Fairview High
School), and Max George (2013-14, Regis Jesuit High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Cornelio also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a
local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000
spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.