High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Oxford

Mississippi Boys Track AOY: Justin Fondren

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
5:26
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: Justin Fondren

THE BASICS

School: Oxford (Miss.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Jumps
Height: 6-foot-2

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Fondren won the high jump at the Class 5A state championship meet for the third time, soaring 7 feet and leading the Chargers to a fourth-place finish as a team. The state-record holder in the high jump, he also took the bronze medal at the World Youth Championships in 2011 and his season-best clearance of 7 feet, 0.25 inches ranked as the nation’s No. 4 jump among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

Academic excellence: Fondren has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a talented musician, he has volunteered locally on behalf of youth basketball camps.

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Mississippi Girls Track AOY: Erika Sisk

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:26
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: Erika Sisk

THE BASICS

School: Oxford (Miss.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Jumps/sprints
Height: 5-foot-5

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Sisk soared 40 feet, two inches to win the triple jump and captured the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, four inches at the Class 5A state meet, leading the Chargers to the championship as a team. She also ran the lead leg on the victorious 4x400-meter relay team and finished fourth in the 400-meter run.

Academic excellence: Sisk has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a basketball standout, she has volunteered locally on behalf of food drives and youth sports programs.

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Eye on POY: Mississippi boys cross country

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
5:09
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?

Will Murphey
Sophomore, Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 4th (Class 6A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:27.0

Lucian Duchanne
Senior, Oxford (Miss.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class 5A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:45.5

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Eye on POY: Mississippi girls cross country

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
4:36
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 competitors 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?

Christina Daniels
Freshman, Tupelo (Miss.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class 6A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:08.5 (4K)

Callie Mayo
Junior, Oxford (Miss.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 2nd (Class 5A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 2nd—15:30.7 (4K)

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Eye on POY: Michigan football

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
3:16
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The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. 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.

Eye on POY: Cooper Rush
file photo/ESPNHSCooper Rush is a finalist for Gatorade Michigan Football Player of the Year.
Cooper Rush
Senior quarterback, Lansing Catholic (Lansing, Mich.)

2011 Team record: 13-0 (Division 5)
2011 Team standing: Division 5 state final vs. Powers Catholic on Nov. 26

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 216-316 (68.4)-3,767
2011 TDs-INTs: 45-12
2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 112-722 (6.5)-15

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Central Michigan University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: In four Division 5 state tournament games, has thrown for 1,583 yards and 19 touchdowns, completing 94-of-133 attempts (70.7 percent). He also rushed for 201 yards and five touchdowns on 37 carries. In a 61-13 state quarterfinal victory against Dowagiac, broke two state records -- most touchdown passes in a half (5) and for the game (8) -- and tied two others (7 first-half touchdown passes and 20 straight completions). Averaged 11.9 yards per passing attempt. 207.89 NCAA Pass Efficiency Rating. No. 88 ranked QB in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 preseason First Team All-State selection as named by ESPNHS. 2010 Division 3-4 First Team All-State selection.

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POY Potential: Top 5 Ala. football recruits

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
8:34
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The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.

That being said, the state’s top five football recruits as ranked by ESPNU are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Football Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …

Chris Casher
ESPNHSChris Casher is Alabama's No. 1 senior recruit
1. Davidson High (Mobile, Ala.) defensive end Chris Casher

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 10
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 236 pounds
  • College: Florida State (verbal)
  • Traits: Run defense, pass rushing, disruptiveness, pursuit
  • ESPNU scouting report: "There is plenty to like about Casher. This athlete fills a few different roles for his high school team and could be recruited to play on either side of the ball in college. He will likely land at either tight end or defensive end."

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