Eye on POY: Nevada softball

The window on the Gatorade State Softball 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.

Heather Bowen

Sophomore Shortstop, Centennial High (Las Vegas, NV)

2012 Team record: 34-8

2012 Team standing: Won Class 4A state title

2012 Batting average: .480

2012 RBI: 54

2012 Runs: 60

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Utah (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Hit school-record 16 HR; Las Vegas Review-Journal Class 4A Player of the Year; Went 6-for-7 with three doubles on final day of state tournament; First Team All-State.

Karlee Koopman

Senior Pitcher, Boulder City High (Boulder City, NV)

2012 Team record: 29-5

2012 Team standing: Lost in Class 3A playoffs

2012 Batting average: .562

2012 RBI: 70

2012 Runs: 31

2012 W-L record: 22-5

2012 ERA: 1.19

2012 Strikeouts: 147

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Augustana

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Set school record for RBI; 27-game regular season winning streak; First Team All-State.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Kalyn Pacque: Junior Pitcher, Damonte Ranch High (Reno, NV)

Katie Nicholas: Senor Pitcher, Yerington High (Yerington, NV)

Georgi DeLio: Junior Third Baseman, Spring Valley High (Las Vegas, NV)

Danielle Amato: Sophomore Pitcher/Shortstop, Coronado High (Henderson, NV)

Sierra Pico: Senior Pitcher, Legacy High (North Las Vegas, NV)

Ashley Jarzombek: Senior Pitcher, Eldorado High (Las Vegas, NV)

Kayla Batastini: Junior Third Baseman/Pitcher, Bishop Manogue High (Reno, NV)

Brette Lawrence: Junior Pitcher, Spanish Springs High (Sparks, NV)

Mary Dettling: Junior Outfielder, Reed High (Sparks, NV)

Krislyn Campos: Junior Shortstop, Shadow Ridge High (Las Vegas, NV)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.