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Return of the POY: Colo.'s Rainey Gaffin

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year selection process is underway, 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: Rainey Gaffin

Position: Right-handed pitcher

Grade: Senior

School: Legacy (Broomfield, Colo.)

College: University of Tennessee (verbal)

Height: 5-foot-10

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Colorado Softball Player of the Year ... 2011 Colorado Sportswoman of the Year ... 2010 Class 5A state champion ... 2010 Class 5A state tournament Most Valuable Player ... 2010 All-Colorado Player of the Year as named by the Denver Post ... 2010 First Team All-State selection

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2010 PITCHING STATISTICS

2010 BATTING STATISTICS

Academics: 3.39 GPA

Extracurricular activities: peer tutor ... delivering food to the needy ... collecting sports equipment donations for underprivileged school districts

Brian Stebbins, head coach of rival Douglas County High: "We didn't face another player with the combined talent of Rainey Gaffin. She's a dominant pitcher as well as a huge threat at the plate."

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

Haley Hutton JR SS Valley; Alli McClsoskey JR OF Rock Canyon; Jessica Ball SR UT Legacy; Elle Madsen SR P Wheat Ridge; Kerry Brundage SR C Silver Creek; Holly Reinke SR P D’Evelyn

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.Candidates are judged upon athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must also demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Any class year is eligible, senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.

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