Return of the POY: Alaska's Pauline Tufi

The Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year selection process is in full swing, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for.

Name: Pauline Tufi

School: West (Anchorage, Alaska)

Grade: Junior

Position: RHP/SS/C

2011 BA: .623

2011 2B: 18

2011 HR: 6

2011 RBI: 28

2011 W-L: 10-1

2011 IP: 65

2011 ERA: 0.86

2011 K-BB: 94-14

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Alaska Softball Player of the Year. Led the Eagles (26-4) to the 2011 Large School state championship. 2011 Cook Inlet Conference Player of the Year. 2010 and 2011 Large School State All-Tournament Team selection. 2010 Honorable Mention All-CIC selection. 2010 Amateur Softball Association Under-16 state champion.

Academics: A average

College: Undecided

Extracurricular activities: Also a basketball, hockey, volleyball and track standout, she has volunteered on behalf of Bean’s CafĂ© homeless shelter, the Salvation Army and the Alaska Run for Women to benefit breast cancer research.

Andy Fowkes, head coach of rival South Anchorage: “Pauline Tufi is probably the best all-around player in Alaska. She gets the job done, and she does it the good way. Her hitting is probably her biggest asset, but some people might argue she’s the best pitcher, too. At the plate, she has a great swing. She sees the ball well, and she’s disciplined. Defensively, when she’s in the field, she’s one of the best.”

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys soccer underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.

Cheyenne Fausett: Senior shortstop, South (Anchorage, Alaska)

Malin Murray: Junior pitcher, Juneau-Douglas (Juneau, Alaska)

A dedicated ESPNHS POY team manages the Gatorade Player of the Year selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the program’s behalf. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders 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 ESPNHS recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.