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Six exceptional girls vie for Gatorade Athlete of the Year honors

Gatorade Player of the YearA dozen exceptional student-athletes — six girls and six boys — are contenders for the ninth annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award. On July 12 in Los Angeles, one of each will be named prep sports’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Volleyball: Krista Vansant of Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands, Calif.
Cross Country: Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall Central High School, New Windsor, N.Y.
Basketball: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, Calif.
Soccer: Morgan Brian of Frederica Academy, St. Simons, Ga.
Softball: Paige McDuffee of The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, Texas
Track & Field: Amy Weissenbach of Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, Calif.

The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must 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 recruiting ranking is irrelevant. Winners are chosen on the basis of their combined athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.

Multiple Gatorade High School Female Athlete of the Year winners have gone on to earn Olympic gold (Allyson Felix),  Most Valuable Player awards ( Candace Parker), collegiate Player of the Year honors (Parker, Maya Moore, Megan Hodge, Tina Charles) and All-American status. Other past Athlete of the Year winners include USA Volleyball star Cynthia Barboza. The national Gatorade Player of the Year Program was established in 1985.

WNBA Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie (1989-90 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year), Olympic Softball gold medalist Jessica Mendoza will be among the presenters this year.

We’ll be front and center when the winners are announced and have a chance to meet with all the nominees and of course, the new Female High School Athlete of the Year. Be sure to check back next week!

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