Return of the POY: Vermont's Chelsea Abbott

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: Chelsea Abbott

School: Bellows Free Academy (St. Albans, Vt.)

Grade: Senior

Position: RHP

2011 W-L: 14-1

2011 IP: 103

2011 ERA: 0.97

2011 K: 178

2011 HR: 6

2011 RBI: 25

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Vermont Softball Player of the Year. Led the Bobwhites (17-1) to the Division I state championship game. Three-time First Team All-Metro selection. Holds school records for single-season and career home runs.

Academics: A average

College: Undecided

Extracurricular activities: A member of the 4-H Club, she has volunteered locally as an elementary school mentor and a youth softball instructor.

Geri Witalec, head coach of rival Colchester (Vt.): “Abbott has a good fastball and a good changeup, but the rise ball is her money pitch. When it’s on, she’s really tough to hit.”

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.

Amber Fay: Senior pitcher, Mt. Abraham (Bristol, Vt.)

Sommer Libbey: Junior pitcher, Missisquoi Valley (Swanton, Vt.)

Alexis Perry: Senior pitcher, Essex (Essex Junction, Vt.)

Jamie Strek: Senior pitcher, Peoples Academy (Morrisville, Vt.)

Kayla Wood: Junior pitcher, Brattleboro (Vt.)

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.