A dozen exceptional student-athletes -- already honored as National Player of the Year in their respective sports -- are contenders for the 10th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award. On Tuesday in Los Angeles, one boy and one girl will be named prep sports’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year (ESPN3, 9:40 p.m. EDT), and both will be recognized at the ESPYS the following evening.
And the female nominees are (click here for the male nominees):
VOLLEYBALL: Jordan Burgess, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.)
Senior outside hitter
Athletic excellence: Consistently facing double and triple blocks, Burgess closed out her career with three straight state titles. In her bid for a three-peat, Burgess amassed 95 kills, 66 digs, 63 service receptions, 8 service aces, 8 blocks and 6 assists in just 19 sets over five state tournament matches. On the season, she led her team in kills (by 207), service receptions (by 189) and digs (by 68).
Academic achievement: A average
Exemplary character: Founding Director, Everyone Should Play Foundation. Manager, Berkley Prep Boys Volleyball Team, 2009-2012. Fundraiser, Heifer International Livestock Charity, 2007-2011. Volunteer Trainer, Kidz Power VBall, six-week program, 2009. NCAA Big South Qualifier Volunteer (hurricane relief), 2008. Team Leader, The Money Game Camp, 2007-08.
CROSS COUNTRY: Molly Seidel, University Lake School (Hartland, Wis.)
Senior distance runner
Athletic excellence: Seidel won the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships last fall and capped her career with a dozen state titles combined in cross country and outdoor track. The state all-class record holder in the 4K (13:10.08), Seidel finished third at the 2011 Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country-International Challenge as a member of the USA junior national cross country team.
Academic achievement: A average
Exemplary character: National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Student Body Vice President, 2011-12. Member, The Cum Laude Society, 2011. Student Body Treasurer, 2008-10. President’s Award for Educational Excellence, 2008-2011. Member, ULS Alpine Ski Racing team, 2010-11. Volunteer, Lifestriders Equine Physical Therapy Center. Volunteer, The Gathering interfaith meal ministry, 2008-11. Sailing Coach, Pine Lake Yacht Club. Volunteer speaker, "Your choice" drug awareness program.
BASKETBALL: Breanna Stewart, Cicero-North Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Athletic excellence: Stewart recorded a double-double in 85 percent of her games en route to a public school and New York state title. It’s the consensus of player-profile assessment experts that Stewart’s unique combination of length, athleticism and finesse could make her the best women’s basketball post talent since Candace Parker.
Academic achievement: A- average
Exemplary character: Youth Basketball Instructor, YMCA. Organizer, Star Leadership seminar C-NS High. Instructor, North Syracuse Optimist Girls Basketball Program. Volunteer Youth Literacy-Outreach. Volunteer, March of Dimes. Volunteer, Salvation Army. Volunteer, Special Olympics. Volunteer, Ronald McDonald House charities.
SOCCER: Morgan Andrews, Milford (N.H.)
Athletic excellence: Only the second girls' soccer talent in history to win Gatorade National Player of the Year as a non-senior -- the 20th non-senior ever to win across all sports in 27 years -- Andrews played every minute of every game this spring in leading the U.S. Soccer Under-17 women’s national team to qualification for this summer’s FIFA U17 World Cup. During the high school season, Andrews averaged 2.64 points per game and has recorded 118 points through three varsity campaigns.
Academic achievement: B average
Exemplary character: Founded Kicks for Cans charitable foundation, providing clinic training to area youth soccer players whose admission fee is canned food, which is donated to the homeless. Share Barn community outreach volunteer, providing clothing and moral support to area needy. Youth coach for the Nashua World Cup Soccer Club. Student government member. School chorus member.
SOFTBALL: Geri Ann Glasco, Oconee County (Watkinsville, Ga.)
Senior right-handed pitcher/first baseman
Athletic excellence: In 110 at-bats Glasco set a state single-season record for home runs with 24, while 63 percent of her hits went for extra bases. In the circle, she held opposing batters to a .114 average and posted a WHIP of 0.64. Glasco graduates as Georgia’s career record holder for home runs (47) and doubles (58).
Academic achievement: B+ average
Exemplary character: Watkinsville First Baptist Church community-service initiatives. Bible Study leader, OCHS. Georgia Outlaws 10U Travel Team Assistant Coach. Fellowship of Christian Athletes member. Read Across America literacy-outreach participant. Private youth hitting and pitching instructor.
TRACK & FIELD: Shelbi Vaughan, Legacy (Mansfield, Texas)
Senior discus thrower
Athletic excellence: Vaughan redefined the girls' high school discus landscape, breaking the national record by an astonishing 8.5 feet in 2012. The largest previous margin of record-break in the event -- dating back to 1980 -- was 2 feet, 4 inches. Owning the top five girls discus throws in U.S. history and one of only four girls ever to break the 185-foot barrier, Vaughan topped that distance seven times with her meet-best in 2012. She is the only American girl to reach that milestone on so many occasions and, with five throws over 190 feet, she represents the lone U.S. prep girl to throw that distance more than once.
Academic achievement: B+ average
Exemplary character: Core volunteer, Legacy Partners in Technology, empowering special needs students digitally. FALS Helper-Student, assisting special needs students in physical education classes. Union Gospel Mission, helping clothe and feed the homeless.
Multiple Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year winners have gone on to earn Olympic gold (Allyson Felix, LeBron James), Most Valuable Player awards (James, Parker), collegiate Player of the Year honors (Parker, Maya Moore, Megan Hodge, Tina Charles) and All-American status.
Other past winners include three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, USA Volleyball star Cynthia Barboza, USC quarterback Matt Barkley and 2012 NBA first-round draft pick Bradley Beal. The national Gatorade Player of the Year Program was established in 1985.
PASSING THE TORCH
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III won Gatorade Texas Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors as a high school senior in 2006-07. Now he’s presenting at this year’s AOY award ceremony along with ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, WNBA Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie (1989-90 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year) and seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, who earned Gatorade National Player of the Year honors in 1987-88.
Three of this year's 12 Gatorade National Player of the Year honorees grew up within 20 miles of one another in Texas, two hail from Tampa Bay, and the other seven contenders include natives of seldom-recognized states such as Wisconsin and New Hampshire, and there's even a soccer phenom born in Ghana. But all have a shot at prep athletics’ brass ring.
A national electoral panel selects one boy and one girl among this year’s 12 student-athletes as the 2012 Gatorade Male and Female High School Athletes of the Year. Selection criteria for the award are identical to Gatorade’s National Player of the Year standards, seeking to honor athletes who excel on the field or court, as well as in the classroom and in the community. Winners are chosen on the basis of their combined athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.