High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Rhode Island

Rhode Island Boys Track AOY: Joe Velez

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
5:11
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: Joe Velez

THE BASICS

School: Classical (Providence, R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Throws
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 185 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Velez won the hammer throw with a mark of 219 feet, 11 inches at the All-State Meet this spring, leading the Purple to a fifth-place finish as a team. He also placed second in the shot put (55-7) and the discus (151-7). Velez launched the hammer 207-3 to win the event at this month’s New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships, while his season-best of 224-1 in the event ranked as the No. 2 performance by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

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

Exemplary character: A member of Classical High’s student senate, he has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and youth basketball and track coach.

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Rhode Island Girls Track AOY: Maddy Berkson

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:11
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: Maddy Berkson

THE BASICS

School: Classical (Providence, R.I.)
Grade: Sophomore
Event(s): Distance/middle-distance
Height: 5-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Berkson set a state record in the 1,500 meters at the All-State meet, leading the Purple to a third-place finish as a team. She won the 1,500 with a time of 4:27.92, a time which ranked No. 13 in the nation by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection. Berkson also ran the anchor leg for Classical’s winning 4x400-meter relay team. The Rhode Island Track Coaches Association State MVP, she placed second in the 800-meter run at both the All-State Meet and the New England Outdoor Championships.

Academic excellence: Berkson has maintained an unweighted 4.12 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She is a member of Classical High’s Debate Club and Chess Club.

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Rhode Island Softball POY: Lindsay Mayer

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
5:09
AM ET
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: Lindsay Mayer

THE BASICS

School: Lincoln (R.I.)
Grade: Junior
Position: RHP/SS
Height: 5-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Mayer led the Lions to a 19-0 record and a berth in the Division I winner’s bracket semifinals, scheduled for June 4. At the time of her selection, she owned a 16-0 record and a 0.67 ERA with 163 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched. At the plate, the 2011 First Team All-State honoree hit .467 with three home runs, 23 runs scored, 24 RBI, a .657 on-base percentage and a .911 slugging percentage through 19 games.

Academic excellence: Mayer has maintained a 3.72 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: An accomplished piano player, she has volunteered locally as a youth softball coach and mentor.

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Rhode Island Baseball POY: David Hopkins

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
5:09
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball 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 his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: David Hopkins

THE BASICS

School: East Greenwich (R.I.)
Grade: Junior
Position: SS/RHP
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 170 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Hopkins led the Avengers to a 9-10 record and a berth in the Division 1 state tournament, scheduled to begin May 29. A returning First Team All-State and two-time First Team All-Division selection, he batted .370 with one home run and 18 RBI through his first 19 games. Hopkins collected 20 walks and scored 19 runs while producing a .551 on-base percentage and .537 slugging percentage. He owned a 4-4 record with a 3.50 ERA and 51 strikeouts against 14 walks in 48 innings pitched.

Academic excellence: Hopkins has maintained a 3.16 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.

Exemplary character: A survivor of leukemia, he has donated his time as a youth sports instructor for the past two summers.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island baseball

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
1:42
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Baseball 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.

David Hopkins
Junior shortstop/right-handed pitcher, East Greenwich (R.I.)

2012 Team record: 9-10
2012 Team standing: Division I regional tournament begins May 29

2012 Batting average: .380
2012 RBI: 17
2012 Runs: 18

2012 W-L record: 4-3
2012 ERA: 3.36
2012 Strikeouts: 46

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: University of Rhode Island (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Opponents walked him 20 times in 76 plate appearances. Nine steals in nine attempts. 2011 First Team All-State selection. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-Division selection. 2011 Area Code Games invitee.

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Rhode Island Boys Hoop POY: Jarell Lawson

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:11
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: Jarell Lawson

THE BASICS

School: Central (Providence, R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Guard/forward
Height: 6-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Lawson led the Knights to a 19-4 record and the Open State Tournament championship this past season. He averaged 19.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. A unanimous First Team All-Division I selection, Lawson was a Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association All-Star. He recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the state-title win over Hope (Providence, R.I.).

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

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and a youth basketball coach.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island boys basketball

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
3:54
PM 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.

Jarell Lawson
Senior guard/forward, Central (Providence, R.I.)

2011-12 Team record: 19-4
2011-12 Team standing: Won Open State Tournament title

2011-12 Points per game: 19.0
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 10.9
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.0
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.0

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Unanimous First Team All-Division I selection; First Team All-League selection; Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association All-Star

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Rhode Island Girls Hoop POY: Kailey Fugere

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
5:40
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: Kailey Fugere

THE BASICS

School: Woonsocket (R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-9

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Fugere averaged 21.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 2.4 steals and 1.5 assists per game this past season, leading the Lady Novans (16-9) to the Division I state quarterfinals. A 2011 Second Team All-State selection, she shot 59.7 percent from the field and 69.8 percent from the free throw line. The state’s leading scorer as a senior, Fugere concluded her prep basketball career with 1,360 points and 849 rebounds.

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

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of a literacy-outreach program, as a volleyball and bowling coach for physically and intellectually challenged youth and with the Respite Program, serving families with special-needs children.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island girls basketball

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
3:53
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.

Hannah Dobson
Junior guard/forward, Westerly (R.I.)

2011-12 Team record: 19-5
2011-12 Team standing: Play Woonsocket in Division I quarterfinals March 4

2011-12 Points per game: 19.6
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8.2
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.7
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.5

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: H.S. junior

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 All-Division I South Second Team ; 2011 Division I Third Team All-State ; 1,155 career points.

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Rhode Island Boys Soccer POY: Colin Patch

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
5:03
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: Colin Patch

THE BASICS

School: La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Defensive midfielder
Height: 6-foot-2

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Patch led the Rams to a 15-1-5 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. He scored seven goals and passed for 12 assists while helping the defense record 10 shutouts. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Patch is a two-time Providence Journal First Team All-State honoree. He concluded his prep soccer career with 19 goals and 30 assists.

Academic excellence: Patch has maintained a weighted A-minus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a landscaper/painter, on behalf of a homeless shelter and food bank and he has completed a service-mission trip to Costa Rica.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island boys soccer

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
5:24
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.

Zach Campo
Senior forward, South Kingstown (Wakefield, R.I.)

2011 Team record: 10-7-3
2011 Team standing: Lost Division 1 state quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 14
2011 Assists: 4
2011 Points per game: 1.13
Career goals: 28
Career assists: 11

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 18 of South Kingstown's 31 goals (58.1 percent). 2011 First Team All-State selection. 2011 Most Valuable Player as named by The Narragansett Times. 2010 First Team All-Division selection. 2010 First Team All-State Tournament selection.

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Rhode Island Girls Soccer POY: McKenzie Meehan

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
5:05
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: McKenzie Meehan

THE BASICS

School: La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-5

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Meehan led the Rams to a 20-0-2 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. She scored 80 goals and passed for 14 assists, including two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over Smithfield High in the state final. The returning Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Meehan is a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She recorded 16 hat tricks in 22 games with six four-goal games, four five-goal games and three six-goal games, concluding her prep soccer career with 181 goals and 41 assists.

Academic excellence: Meehan has maintained an A average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of La Salle’s Pegasus Gifted Student Program, she has volunteered locally as a peer Spanish tutor and a youth soccer coach.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island girls soccer

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
10:43
AM 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.

McKenzie Meehan
Senior forward, La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)

2011 Team record: 20-0-2 (Division 1)
2011 Team standing: Division 1 state champions

2011 Goals: 80
2011 Assists: 14
2011 Points per game: 4.27
Career goals: 181
Career assists: 41

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Boston College

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: In three postseason games, recorded 12 goals and six assists for a direct hand in 90 percent of the Rams’s goals (18-of-20). Amassed two goals and two assists as the Rams thumped Smithfield (R.I.), 6-2, to win the state title. Led nation in goals scored this past fall. 2010-11 Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Two-time NSCAA All-American selection. No. 33 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.

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Rhode Island Boys XC ROY: Mike Marsella

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
5:11
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: Mike Marsella

THE BASICS

School: Chariho (Wood River Junction, R.I.)
Grade: Senior
Height: 6-foot-1

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Marsella raced to the All-State Meet individual championship this past season with a time of 15:51, leading the Chargers to second place as a team. A First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Track Coaches Association, he won the New England Cross Country Championships in 15:26. He took fourth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 16:14.7 and finished 19th at the Nike Cross Nationals Final in 15:42.96.

Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Marsella has maintained a 3.52 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of charity road races, community cleanup efforts, the Westerly Senior Citizens Center and the WARM Center to benefit the homeless.

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Eye on POY: Rhode Island boys cross country

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
6:56
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?

Mike Marsella
Senior, Chariho (Wood River Junction, R.I.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 2nd (Class A)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—15:37.59

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 4th—16:14.7
2011 Nike Cross Nationals Finals (Place—time): 19th—15:42.96

Dylan Verner-Crist
Senior, Barrington (R.I.)

2011 Team postseason standing: 1st (Class B)
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—16:57.95

Read More »

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