High-SchoolIllinois: Gatorade POY

Fox is Gatorade XC Runner of the Year

January, 12, 2012
Naperville Central senior Amanda Fox has been named the girls' cross country Gatorade State Runner of the Year for Illinois. Fox won the Class AAA state title in the fall, then won the Nike Midwest Regional before finishing ninth at the Nike Cross Nationals.

Fox's coach is quoted in the official Gatorade announcement:
“Amanda always races hard and saves nothing,” said Naperville Central head coach Aislinn Hicks. “She’s very passionate about everything she pursues in life, whether it’s academics or running.”

To read the entire announcement, click here.

To see the winners in all 50 states, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Viliunas wins Gatorade Volleyball POY

December, 14, 2011
The Gatorade State Players of the Year were announced for volleyball, and the Illinois winner is Lyons senior Alexis Viliunas.

Viliunas, a setter/outside hitter, recorded 644 assists, 320 kills and 300 digs while leading Lyons to the Class 4A quarterfinals.

To read more about Viliunas’s credentials, click here.

To see all the Gatorade State Players of the Year, click here.

Winkler wins Gatorade POY

December, 1, 2011
Blake Winkler may not have been the highest-ranked football player in Illinois, but there was no one more feared with the game on the line. For his steady play and clutch leadership, Winkler took home the Gatorade State Player of the Year award for 2011.

The 6-foot senior passed for 2,369 yards with 30 touchdowns this year, while tossing just five interceptions. His Lincoln-Way East squad was upset in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs, but Winkler was still the choice for the Gatorade panel.

It won't be a popular decision in some circles, as there were some spectacular performers across Illinois this year. Montini senior receiver Jordan Westerkamp became the state's all-time leader in every pass-catching category while leading his team to the Class 5A championship. Bolingbrook junior quarterback Aaron Bailey burst onto the scene and won the Class 8A championship. Joliet Catholic junior running back Ty Isaac ran for 2,629 yards and scored 51 TDs.

And those are just the offensive stars. Glenbard West senior defensive tackle Tommy Schutt may have been the most dominant player in the state.

If I had a vote, in all honesty, I probably would have cast it for Isaac or Bailey. But since both are juniors, we'll likely get to see them battle it out for this award next year. For 2011, I have no problem with Winkler taking home the hardware.

To read the complete rundown of Winkler's credentials, click here.

To see all the winners for every state, click here.