High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Must See

Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year nominees

July, 9, 2012
A dozen exceptional student-athletes -- already honored as National Player of the Year in their respective sports -- are contenders for the 10th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award. On Tuesday in Los Angeles, one boy and one girl will be named prep sports’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year (ESPN3, 9:40 p.m. EDT), and both will be recognized at the ESPYS the following evening.

And the female nominees are (click here for the male nominees):

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Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year nominees

July, 9, 2012
A dozen exceptional student-athletes -- already honored as National Player of the Year in their respective sports -- are contenders for the 10th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award. On Tuesday in Los Angeles, one boy and one girl will be named prep sports’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year (ESPN3, 9:40 p.m. EDT), and both will be recognized at the ESPYS the following evening.

And the male nominees are (click here for the female nominees):

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Texas sweeps national track AOY honors

June, 27, 2012
Abraham HallSusan Goldman/GatoradeDallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith stuns South Grand Prairie (Texas) senior Abraham Hall with the Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year trophy.
As the first running back in prep history to rush for 100 yards in 45 games and the second to reach 8,000 career yards, Emmitt Smith is no stranger to extraordinary achievement as a high school athlete. In many ways, the Florida native, Texas icon and former national Gatorade Player of the Year was the perfect pick to surprise South Grand Prairie (Texas) senior Abraham Hall and Legacy (Mansfield, Texas) senior Shelbi Vaughan with 2011-12 Gatorade National Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors.

Gatorade made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth with Smith posing as a celebrity reporter conducting a mock television interview with the teens before breaking the news.

“It's nice to know there are kids today who understand the significance of their role in their schools and communities," said Smith, the NFL leader in career rushing yards with 18,355, who won the 1986-87 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year trophy as a high school senior. "They're willing to make the sacrifice to be one of the best athletes in the country, and to be able to recognize them for that is a wonderful thing. They're humble, classy kids who have been given a tremendous opportunity, and I know they'll do their best to make the most of that opportunity."

Hall, a 5-foot-11 senior, won the 100-meter dash with a personal-best time of 10.19 seconds and the 200-meter dash in a personal-best 20.58 at the Class 5A state championships, leading the Warriors to a fourth-place finish as a team. The 100-meter clocking ranks No. 8 in prep history while the 200 time ranks No. 18 in history. Only seven boys in high school history rank in the top 10 of one event and the top 20 of the other.

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State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year

June, 21, 2012

State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year

June, 20, 2012

Glasco snares National Player of the Year

June, 13, 2012
video Geri Ann Glasco thought she was recording an interview with television analyst and international softball legend Jessica Mendoza, but the only sound bite cameras captured was the stunned teen's gasp when the two-time Olympic medalist unveiled the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year trophy.

Fittingly, Mendoza was the first to inform the Oconee County (Watkinsville, Ga.) standout that she'd joined softball royalty such as Alicia Hollowell and Cat Osterman, who have won the award previously. The surprise abruptly concluded the mock Q&A orchestrated at the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North/South All-Star Softball Classic in Rome, Ga.

"I thought it was going to be a typical interview, and then Jessica Mendoza is the first person I see," Glasco said. "I recognized it was a bigger deal than I thought, so I got a little nervous and answered her questions as best I could. Then, she dropped the news. I had no idea I was being considered for this. It's really exciting, really surreal. It's awesome to receive such great recognition and be on a list with people I've grown up watching. It really shows hard work pays off, and I'm so grateful."

The 5-foot-6 senior right-handed pitcher led the Warriors (38-2) to the Class AAA state title this past season. Glasco posted a 19-0 record with a 0.50 ERA in the circle, while batting .564 with 62 RBI and a state single-season record 24 home runs. A four-time first-team all-state selection, she struck out 213 batters in 113 innings, firing 13 shutouts and four no-hitters. Glasco set the state career record for home runs (47) and doubles (58) in addition to finishing second in Georgia history with 207 career hits and fourth with 167 RBIs.

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Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year

June, 6, 2012

NOTE: The South Dakota and Wyoming state associations do not currently sanction softball. Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Georgia, Colorado (all fall) and Iowa (summer) do not play spring softball. As a result, in Iowa, the annual Gatorade recommendation is based upon candidates’ previous scholastic season and offseason club/showcase performance, if applicable. In the other five fall states, season stats are referenced as "2011."

McCullers named National Baseball POY

May, 31, 2012

Born 16 months after his dad’s last game in the big leagues, Lance McCullers Jr. never experienced a Major League Baseball clubhouse atmosphere firsthand with guys like Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke or an MVP like Alex Rodriguez walking around.

But the Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) senior joins that trio as a member of an elite alumni club after being named Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. McCullers was duped Thursday into believing a staged sit-down interview with network analyst Sean Casey was about the forthcoming MLB first-year player draft until the former 12-year veteran revealed the Gatorade trophy.

“This is something I’ve wanted to win for so long,” said McCullers, 18, the oldest son of former major league right-hander Lance Sr. “I watched online last year when [Baltimore Orioles No. 1 prospect] Dylan Bundy won it. It’s mind-blowing really to be on a list with the guys who’ve won this. You’re talking about people I look up to and model my game after. Especially a guy like Greinke, a smaller-stature pitcher who I’m sure went through some of the things I’m going through. I’m just so blessed and so grateful for this honor.”

A 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed starter, McCullers posted a 13-0 record with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts against 30 walks in 77.1 innings pitched this past season, leading the Tigers (28-2) to the Class 5A state semifinals. The 2011 Jackie Robinson Award winner as the country’s top rising senior, McCullers, also a shortstop, batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBIs, stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts. An All-American as named by ESPNHS, Baseball America, Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Louisville Slugger, he scored 27 runs while producing a .485 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage.

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Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year

May, 30, 2012

NOTE: The Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming state associations do not currently sanction baseball. Also, distinct from the other 46 states (plus Washington, D.C.), Iowa begins its prep season in conjunction with Memorial Day, which results in the annual Gatorade honor being based upon candidates’ previous scholastic season and offseason club/showcase performance, if applicable. This also means a senior can never win the award based upon his senior season.

Andrews gets a kick out of Gatorade trophy

May, 24, 2012

MILFORD, N.H. -- She’s been considered one of America’s elite young soccer talents since her preteen years, but Morgan Andrews put a little space between herself and the rest of the field Thursday when she was named the 2011-12 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

Andrews was surprised with the news in her Milford (N.H.) English class by a hero of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Ali Krieger, who earned Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year honors in 2002-03.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” said Andrews, who turned 17 on March 25. “I owe so much to so many for this. I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of this incredible, amazing community. I’m literally shaking. I just don’t believe it.”

The 5-foot-9 junior midfielder captained the U.S. Soccer Under-17 national team to the CONCACAF Women's Championship in Guatemala earlier this month, playing every minute as the Team USA went 5-0 and outscored opponents 26-0. She will lead the U.S. in its bid to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup title this fall in Azerbaijan (Sept. 22-Oct. 13) and will likely miss much of her senior year of prep competition.

Andrews scored 31 goals and passed for six assists at forward this past high school season, leading the Spartans (11-6-1) to the Division II state quarterfinals.

“We got her good on the surprise,” said Krieger, who played every minute for the U.S. women’s national team in the 2011 FIFA World Cup, scoring the decisive penalty kick in a quarterfinal win over Brazil. “It’s such an honor to share this with Morgan and to welcome her to the Gatorade Player of the Year family. It was such a validation for me just to win state player of the year in high school and it drove me to reach higher. I’m confident this will do the same for her.”

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Gatorade Girls Soccer Players of the Year

May, 23, 2012

Boateng nets National Player of the Year

May, 17, 2012

CARPINTERIA, Calif. -- Ema Boateng grew up in a home with no electricity and no running water in Ghana, but his intellect, determination and soccer ability offered him a shot at a better life. The teen hit a pretty big bull's-eye Thursday when he was named the 2011-12 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Boateng was surprised with the news in his Cate School (Carpinteria, Calif.) environmental science class by one of the most recognizable faces in American soccer, Alexi Lalas, who earned Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year honors in 1987-88.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” said Boateng, a Cate School boarding student who turned 18 in January. “I did not see this coming. I’m looking at the list of names of athletes who’ve won this before and I can’t believe I’m anywhere near this list. I can’t believe I’m on it.”

The 5-foot-6, 165-pound junior midfielder led the Rams to a 20-2-1 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division VII tournament championship this past season. Boateng scored 32 goals, passed for 19 assists and was a repeat selection as the Southern Section Division VII Player of the Year.

“I’m here to welcome him to the Player of the Year family,” said Lalas, 41, a veteran of two FIFA World Cup teams with US Soccer (1994 and ’98), a former Major League Soccer front office executive and now a television analyst for ABC and ESPN. “It was a wonderful moment. It was a genuine surprise. He’s truly a special talent on and off the field.”

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Gatorade Boys Soccer Players of the Year

May, 15, 2012

HORSE: Jabari Parker vs. Alonzo Mourning

April, 13, 2012

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Considering Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) rode Jabari Parker to its third consecutive Class 4A state championship this past season, it was only fitting Alonzo Mourning challenged Parker to a game of H.O.R.S.E. after surprising him with the news on Thursday that he is the fourth junior in history to claim Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors.

A seven-time NBA All-Star, Mourning defeated both 2009-10 winner Brandon Knight and 2010-11 winner Bradley Beal in the same competition at the previous two presentations, but unlike Parker he couldn't three-peat in Chicago.

"The boy ain't missing," said Mourning. "He got the jumper. I see why he got that award."

Once Parker finished Mourning off on a jump shot from the right baseline, H.O.R.S.E. to H.O.R., the former two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year challenged him again. "Let's run it back," he said.

Parker wasn't so forgiving the second time, sweeping the Olympic gold medalist -- H.O.R.S.E. to zilch -- on both right-handed and left-handed hook shots in the lane, a baseline jumper, a baby hook off the glass on the block and a 17-footer from the left elbow. Over the course of the contest, Parker put the full range of his scoring ability on display.

"The wheels are coming off," conceded Mourning before embracing Parker, turning to the small crowd in attendance, clapping and adding, "Give it up."

Add another title to the growing list of accomplishments for ESPNU's No. 1 ranked junior recruit.

Gatorade Boys Hoop Players of the Year

March, 22, 2012