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: Nicole Dalton
School: Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
Position: Outside hitter/setter
Athletic achievement: Dalton led the Wolverines to a 31-0 record and a second consecutive Class 5A state championship this past season. The state’s returning Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, she amassed 492 kills, 406 assists, 267 digs, 176 service receptions, 62 blocks and 54 service aces while recording a .454 hitting percentage of and .564 kill percentage. Dalton totaled 22 assists, 13 kills, 13 digs and two blocks in the state title sweep of Grandview (Aurora, Colo.), capturing Class 5A state tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second consecutive season. A member of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team, she compiled 473 kills, 376 digs, 127 assists, 87 blocks and 47 service aces as a junior in 2010.
Academic excellence: Dalton has maintained a 3.28 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth volleyball instructor, Dalton has served locally as a companion to the elderly and volunteered on behalf of the Project 600 Christmas party for inner-city children.
“She truly embodies everything that you would desire in a player and an athlete, especially as a teammate,” said Kiersta Paul, head coach of rival ThunderRidge (Littleton, Colo.). “Additionally, as an overpowering opponent, she could have easily looked down on those she played against but has never been anything but gracious to both her opponents and teammates. I would argue that she is the most outstanding player in the country and probably the best ever to have played in Colorado. I have lived here my entire life, and we have had some great ones, but Dalton is right there.”
Dalton has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Texas beginning in the fall of 2012.