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Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Eye on POY: Utah volleyball

By Steve Ouellette

The window on the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Bailey Farris
Senior Middle Blocker, Morgan High (Morgan, UT)

2011 Team record: 25-4
2011 Team standing: Won Class 3A state title

2011 Kills: 405
2011 Blocks: 91
2011 Digs: 111
2011 Aces: 32

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Utah Valley University (letter of intent)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Deseret News Miss Volleyball; Four-time All-State selection.

Candace Richins
Senior Outside Hitter, Davis High (Kaysville, UT)

2011 Team record: 30-4
2011 Team standing: Won Class 5A state title

2011 Kills: 265
2011 Blocks: 46
2011 Digs: 137
2011 Aces: 51

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Utah State (letter of intent)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Deseret News Class 5A MVP; Salt Lake Tribune Class 5A MVP.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Ciara Parker: Snow Canyon High (St. George, UT) SR S
BreElle Bailey: Lehi High (Lehi, UT) JR OH
Sam Staker: Taylorsville High (Taylorsville, UT) SR OH
McKenzie Willey: Lone Peak High (Highland, UT) JR OH
Megan Bean: Richfield High (Richfield, UT) JR MB

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.