A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 49 fellow Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Sarah Wilhite
School: Eden Prairie (Minn.)
Position: Outside hitter
Athletic achievement: Wilhite led the Eagles to a 27-6 record and the Class AAA state title this past season. She recorded 636 kills, 278 digs, 60 blocks and 33 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .440. A 2011 First Team All-State selection, Wilhite collected a match-high 33 kills in the state title-clinching win against Lakeville North (Lakeville, Minn.).
Academic excellence: Wilhite has maintained a 3.90 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: An accomplished vocalist with her school’s treble choir and women’s concert chorale, Wilhite has volunteered locally as a youth volleyball coach.
“Sarah Wilhite was the hardest to defend of all the players we played this season,” said Dennis Piechowski, head coach of rival Hutchinson (Minn.). “We changed block schemes against her and she still found a way to score. She is at the top of my list of the players we saw this year.”
Wilhite has verbally committed to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Wisconsin beginning in the fall of 2013.