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Saturday, June 2, 2012
Eye on POY: Alaska Softball

By Joel Beck

The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. 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.

Nikki Olsen
Junior RHP/catcher/first baseman, West Anchorage (Anchorage)

2012 Team record: 21-6
2012 Team standing: Will play in Large School semifinals on June 2

2012 Batting average: .446
2012 RBI: 21
2012 Runs: 17

2012 W-L record: 6-2
2012 ERA: 2.85
2012 Strikeouts: 76
2012 Innings: 43

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-Conference; 2011 All-Tournament Team

Pauline Tufi
Junior RHP/shortstop, West Anchorage (Anchorage)

2012 Team record: 21-6
2012 Team standing: Will play in Large School semifinals on June 2

2012 Batting average: .524
2012 RBI: 30
2012 Runs: 38
2012 OPS: 1.563

2012 W-L record: 6-3
2012 ERA: 1.16
2012 Strikeouts: 98
2012 Innings: 76.67

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Northern Colorado (verbal commitment)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2010-2011 Gatorade Alaska Softball Player of the Year; 2011 Conference Player of the Year; 2010 and 2011 All-Tournament Team;

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Softball 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 2011-12 campaign.

Sydney Smith: Sophomore RHP, East Anchorage (Anchorage)
Taria Page: Freshman shortstop, East Anchorage (East Anchorage)
Samantha Everett: Junior catcher, Colony (Palmer)

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.