A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Kristen Wood
School: Wilmot Union (Wilmot, Wis.)
Athletic achievement: Wood led the Panthers to a 21-3 record entering the Division 1 sectional semifinals, scheduled for June 4. A two-time returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association, she owned a 21-3 record with a 0.85 ERA and 286 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched through 24 games. Also a first baseman, Wood batted .462 with six home runs and 35 RBI, producing a .782 slugging percentage and .512 on-base percentage entering the sectional semis.
Academic excellence: Wood has maintained a 3.40 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor and umpire, she has volunteered locally at a no-kill animal shelter, on behalf of her church and as part of multiple fundraisers for both cancer and diabetes research.
“She has been by far one of the best pitchers I have ever seen in the area, state and country,” said Hank Johnson, head coach at rival Delavan-Darien (Delavan, Wis.). “She has multiple pitches that she can consistently throw for strikes. Kristen is also one of the best hitters in our league, which makes her a complete player. She has recorded a lot of wins over the years and has demonstrated great character in never showing up her opponents while on the field.”
THE FUTURE: Wood has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Northwestern University this fall.