High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Montana

Montana Boys Track AOY: Zach Perrin

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
5:24
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Zach Perrin

THE BASICS

School: Flathead (Mont.)
Grade: Junior
Event(s): Distance
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 145 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Perrin won individual state titles in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:17.18 and the 3,200-meter run in 9:20.84 at the Class AA state meet this spring, leading the Braves to a third-place finish as a team. A two-time First Team All-State honoree, he also competed at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational, where he took eighth in the 3,200 (8:55.24), earning the fastest mark ever recorded by a Montana runner at the meet. His time of 8:23.90 in the 3,000-meter run at Arcadia ranked as the nation’s No. 7 performance among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

Academic excellence: Perrin has maintained a 3.0 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community and the vice president of his graduating class, he has volunteered locally as a youth track and field coach.

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Montana Girls Track AOY: Danielle Aragon

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:24
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Danielle Aragon

THE BASICS

School: Billings Senior (Billings, Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Middle-distance/distance
Height: 5-foot-8

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Aragon won three individual state championships this spring and led the Lady Broncs to the Class AA state title as a team. She set a state record in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:08.31, won the 1,600-meter run in 4:56.43 and the 3,200-meter run in 11:09.28. Aragon also finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.23 seconds. The 2010-11 Gatorade Montana Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, she won the 800 at the Great Southwest Classic, breaking the tape in 2:11.16. Her record-breaking 800 clocking at the state meet ranked as the nation’s No. 13 time by a prep competitor at the time of her selection.

Academic excellence: Aragon has maintained a 3.88 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society, she has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and on behalf of the Smile Network, an international fundraising organization that provides supplies to repair birth defects and genetic defects.

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Montana Boys Hoop POY: Danny Robison

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:24
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Danny Robison

THE BASICS

School: Billings West (Billings, Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward/center
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 235 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Robison led the Golden Bears to a 22-1 record and the Class AA state championship this past season. He recorded 19 points and seven rebounds in the 61-48, title-clinching victory against Kalispell (Mont.), capturing tournament Most Valuable Player honors. A returning Second Team All-Eastern Conference selection, Robison averaged 17.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He shot 69.3 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point range and 71.3 percent from the free throw line.

Academic excellence: Robison has maintained an A average in the classroom and ranks in the top 10 of his graduating class.

Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time to the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of his church’s youth group, a retirement facility and the Trading Cards anti-drug campaign.

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Eye on POY: Montana boys basketball

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
10:11
AM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Boys Basketball 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.

Riley Bradshaw
Senior guard, Corvallis (Mont.)

2011-12 Team record: 13-9 (Class A)
2011-12 Team standing: Did not qualify for Class A state tournament

2011-12 Points per game: 23.6
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 6.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 6.8
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.4
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.5

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Utah State University

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Shot 53 percent from the field, 43 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line. His 23.6 points and 6.8 assists accounted for 64.4 percent of Corvallis’ 57.8 points per game. Had an impressive performance at the Adidas Super 64 Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., while playing AAU ball for Idaho Select. No. 70 ranked PG in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 Southwestern Conference Most Valuable Player. 2011 Class A Honorable Mention All-Tournament selection.

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Montana Girls Hoop POY: Peyton Ferris

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
5:27
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Peyton Ferris

THE BASICS

School: Twin Bridges (Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-foot-9

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Ferris has led the Falcons to a 23-1 record and a berth in the Class C state quarterfinals against Winnett-Grass Range (Mont.), scheduled for Thursday. At the time of her selection, she averaged 18.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.3 steals, 2.4 assists and 1.8 blocks. A four-time Class C First Team All-State selection, Ferris is a two-time District 11-12 C MVP. She averaged 27.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 blocks, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists as Twin Bridges won the Western C Division Tournament.

Academic excellence: Ferris has maintained a 3.75 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a junior rodeo competitor, she has volunteered as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her church youth group.

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Eye on POY: Montana girls basketball

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
8:04
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball 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.

Lexi Dawkins
Senior forward, Bozeman (Mont.)

2011-12 Team record: 20-0
2011-12 Team standing: Play in Class AA state quarterfinals March 8

2011-12 Points per game: 12.3
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 4.7
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.7
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.3

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Montana State (NLI)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Class AA Eastern Division All-Conference selection

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Montana Boys Soccer POY: Nick Downs

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
5:14
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 29 fellow Gatorade State Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Nick Downs

THE BASICS

School: C.M. Russell (Great Falls, Mont.)
Grade: Junior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-8
Weight: 140 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Downs scored 14 goals and passed for eight assists this past season, leading the Rustlers (6-8-1) to the Class AA state quarterfinals. A two-time All-State selection and a two-time Montana Coaches Association Academic All-State honoree, he is a member of the 1994 U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Olympic Development Program team. Through his junior year, Downs has recorded 32 goals and 13 assists in his prep career.

Academic excellence: Downs has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and on behalf of the Kick for Nick charitable campaign by donating his time as a soccer coach in exchange for soccer balls sent to children in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Eye on POY: Montana boys soccer

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
3:57
PM ET
The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year 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.

Nick Downs
Junior forward, C.M. Russell (Great Falls)

2011 Team record: 6-8-1 (Class AA)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class AA state quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 14
2011 Assists: 8
2011 Points per game: 1.47
Career goals: 32
Career assists: 13

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 22 of CMR's 29 goals (75.9 percent). Two-time All-State selection. Region IV Olympic Development Program Team member. 2011 state scoring leader. Two-time Montana Coaches Association Academic All-State selection.

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Montana Girls Soccer POY: Savannah Witt

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
5:12
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 21 fellow Gatorade State Fall Girls Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Savannah Witt

THE BASICS

School: Billings West (Billings, Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfielder/forward
Height: 5-foot-5

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Witt scored 12 goals and passed for seven assists this past season, leading the Bears (4-4-5) to the Class AA sectional tournament. The 2011 Class AA Eastern Division Player of the Year, she is a two-time Great Falls Tribune Super-State Team selection and a three-time Class AA First Team Eastern Division honoree. Witt concluded her prep soccer career with 42 goals and 24 assists.

Academic excellence: Witt has maintained a 3.62 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Named to the Billings Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership program as a junior, she has volunteered locally as a youth mentor at her church.

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Eye on POY: Montana girls soccer

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
1:41
PM ET
The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Soccer Players of the Year 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.

Savannah Witt
Senior midfielder/forward, Billings West (Billings)

2011 Team record: 4-4-5 (Class AA)
2011 Team standing: Lost first round of Class AA sectional tournament

2011 Goals: 12
2011 Assists: 7
2011 Points per game: 1.58
Career goals: 42
Career assists: 24

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Montana

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored the Bears’ lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Skyview (Billings, Mont.) in a pre-qualifying game for the state tournament. Billings West's leading scorer in the postseason in both 2009 and 2010, years that ended in state titles. Ranked fifth in state history for goals and tied for fourth in state history for assists. 2011 Class AA Eastern Division Player of the Year. Two-time Super-State Team selection as named by the Great Falls Tribune. Three-time Class AA First Team Eastern Division selection.

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Montana Boys XC ROY: Jakob Woodland

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
5:24
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Jakob Woodland

THE BASICS

School: Bozeman (Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Height: 5-foot-9

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Woodland raced to the Class AA individual state championship with a time of 15:20.65 this past season, leading the Hawks to first place as a team. A three-time recipient of his team’s Top Hawk Award, he placed 21st at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships in 16:14.40. He took 24th at the 2010 NXN Midwest Regional championships as a junior.

Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Woodland has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered on behalf of his school’s Key Club International chapter and the Family Promise organization to benefit the homeless.

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Eye on POY: Montana boys cross country

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
5:38
PM ET
The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These state meet winners made a case in their respective classifications, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Jakob Woodland
Senior, Bozeman (Mont.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class AA)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:20.65

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 21st—16:14.4

Derrick Williams
Senior, Columbia Falls (Mont.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 12th (Class A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:30.76

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 54th—16:44

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Montana Girls XC ROY: Makena Morley

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
5:26
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

Gatorade POY: Makena Morley
John Dye/ESPNHSFreshman Makena Morley finished top-10 at Foot Locker Nationals this past season.
THE WINNER: Makena Morley

THE BASICS

School: Bigfork (Mont.)
Grade: Freshman
Height: 5-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Morley raced to the Class B individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:44.32. Ranked No. 22 on the ESPNHS DyeStat Cross Country Top 25 series, she placed third at the Foot Locker West Regional championships in 18:07 in addition to finishing ninth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 17:39.1, capturing Second Team All-American honors. Morley also won the Flathead Invitational, Mountain West Classic and Capital City 7 on 7 this past fall.

Academic excellence: Morley has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom.

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Eye on POY: Montana girls cross country

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
5:21
PM ET
The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These state meet winners made a case in their respective classifications, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Return of the ROY: Caroline Hardin
Robert Rosenberg/ESPNHSCaroline Hardin is the returning Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Caroline Hardin
Sophomore, Bozeman (Mont.)
2010-11 Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class AA)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—17:52.56

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 24th—19:20.9

Sadie Henderson
Sophomore, Corvallis (Mont.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—18:30.26

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Montana Volleyball POY: Kyndal Williams

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
5:23
AM ET
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: Kyndal Williams

THE BASICS

School: Helena (Mont.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Setter
Height: 5-foot-8

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Williams led the Bengals to a 29-4 record and their second straight Class AA state title this past season. She recorded 1,037 assists, 253 digs, 99 kills, 72 service aces and 45 blocks while posting a kill percentage of .398. A three-time First Team All-State selection, Williams distributed 145 assists in three state tournament matches, including 51 in a five-set win over Billings (Mont.) in the state final.

Academic excellence: Williams has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A Helena freshman orientation leader and an accomplished vocalist with the school choir, Williams has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

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