High-SchoolMassachusetts: Gatorade POY

Peabody junior Catarina Rocha has been named the girls' cross country Gatorade State Runner of the Year for Massachusetts. Rocha won the Division 1 individual state championship, ran third at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional and finished seventh at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

From the official Gatorade announcement:
“Catarina Rocha is a leader on her team and in the classroom,” said Peabody athletic director Phil Sheridan. “I have had the opportunity to watch her in all facets of life and she is very serious about her training, her studies and her commitment to helping others.”

To read the entire Gatorade announcement, click here.

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

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Stankowski wins Gatorade volleyball POY

December, 14, 2011
The Gatorade State Players of the Year for volleyball were announced today, and the Massachusetts winner is Frontier junior Cassidy Stankowski.

Stankowski, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, recorded 276 kills and 143 digs while leading Frontier to the Division 3 state championship.

To read more about Stankowski's credentials, click here.

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

DiBiaso wins Gatorade POY

December, 1, 2011
Last year, Jonathan DiBiaso helped his Everett teammate Matt Costello win the Gatorade State Player of the Year award. This time around, DiBiaso is the winner after breaking his own Massachusetts record for touchdown passes in a season and leading Everett back to the Super Bowl.

DiBiaso, a senior quarterback, has tossed 44 TD passes and thrown for 2,731 yards through 12 games, all Everett wins. He's also the state's all-time leader in touchdown passes with 103.

There were other strong candidates for the award — including Duxbury senior QB Matt O'Keefe and Catholic Memorial senior WR/RB Armani Reeves. But I think the Gatorade guys got this one right. DiBiaso has capped off a truly great career with his best season, and that makes him a worthy winner in my book. Now let's see if he can finish it off with another Super Bowl championship on Saturday.

To see the complete rundown of DiBiaso credentials, click here.

To see all the winners from every state, click here.
Jacob Belcher/ESPNHSNick LaSpada
Billerica senior QB Nick LaSpada was featured in the September issue of ESPNHS, and the beautifully-written story details his return from an ACL tear two years ago. LaSpada says he's better now than he's ever been.
So LaSpada was content to bulldoze defenders, scramble around overmatched rushers and launch deep bombs when the secondary inevitably broke down. And that style worked for him — LaSpada racked up nearly 3,000 total yards and 30 touchdowns in 2009, earning him Gatorade State Player of the Year honors.

But that player was buried on the sideline the instant LaSpada felt his leg go numb.

“My first two years, it was more about my athletic ability than being a pure quarterback,” says LaSpada. “I had weaknesses with my technique and throwing style. The book on me was to keep me in the pocket and I’ll make more mistakes there.

“The injury sort of gave me a reason to jump in and change that style a little bit. I had time to address it. It was kind of like hitting the reset button.”

Interesting stuff from the 2009 Gatorade State Player of the Year. For the complete story, click here.