WEST AURORA, Ill., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 28th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports today announced Lauren Carlini of West Aurora High School (West Aurora, Ill.) as its 2012-13 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. Carlini was surprised with the news at West Aurora High School by Silver Medalist April Ross, who earned Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year honors in 1999-00.
"When I received the award, it was a really significant moment for me, so it felt great to surprise Lauren with the news and invite her into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Ross, Silver Medalist at the 2012 games. "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Carlini as the nation's best high school volleyball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Carlini from more than 400,000 high school volleyball players nationwide. Carlini is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The 6-foot-1 senior setter/right side hitter recorded 333 kills, 303 assists, 156 digs, 92 service aces and 50 blocks this past season while posting a kill percentage of .594 and leading the Blackhawks (32-6) to the Class 4A sectional semifinals. The 2012 Chicago Tribune Volleyball Player of the Year and a 2012-13 American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour First Team All-American, Carlini earned MVP honors in leading the U.S. Girls Youth National Team to a gold medal at the 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships. She also started for Team USA at that summer's FIVB Girls Youth World Championships in Turkey, and is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com.
Carlini has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Geneva Police Department, the Illinois Math and Science Academy and as a youth volleyball coach.
"Lauren Carlini has a presence on the floor that is beyond compare," said Christine Scheibe, head coach at Joliet Catholic Academy, who coached 2007-08 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year Kelly Murphy. "Not only is she an excellent setter, she can also hit, block and serve better than most players. Her versatility is what sets her apart from other players."
Carlini has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Wisconsin beginning in the fall of 2013.
"Without question, Lauren is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school volleyball player based on her statistics on the court and the impact her accomplishments have had on West Aurora's success," said Gatorade Vice President, Brand Marketing Morgan Flatley. "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:
- Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
- WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
- NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
- Three-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
West Aurora/West Aurora, IL
Berkeley Prep/Tampa, FL
Redlands East Valley HS/Redlands, CA
Papillion-La Vista/Papillion, NE
Joliet Catholic/Joliet, IL
High School Senior
University of Washington
University of Minnesota
University of Nebraska
University of Florida
Mira Costa/Manhattan Beach, CA
Carnaghi Villa Cortese (Italy)
Wilson Classical/Long Beach, CA
LIU JO Volley Modena (Italy)
Wilson Classical/Long Beach, CA
LIU JO Volley Modena (Italy)
Canyon Del Oro/Tucson, AZ
Attended Univ. Of Arizona
VK Prostejov (Czech Republic)
Newport Harbor/Newport Beach, CA
Pro Beach Volleyball
Highland/Salt Lake City, UT
Fenerbahce Universal (Turkey)
Benet Academy/Lisle, IL
Notre Dame Graduate
Archbishop Mitty/San Jose, CA
Pro Beach Volleyball
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Gatorade Thirst Quencher® is backed by more than 40 years of research and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. The company's product portfolio is built around the G Series™, a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before (Gatorade Prime 01™), during (Gatorade® Perform 02 and G2® Perform 02), and after (Gatorade Recover 03™) training or competition. For more information, please visit www.gatorade.com.
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also, means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
About USA TODAY Sports Media Group
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett's more than 100 well-known local media brands. It also includes the sports photography wire service USA TODAY Sports Images, USA TODAY High School Sports and the hundreds of sites within USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties such as thebiglead.com and mixed martial arts site MMAjunkie.com, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).
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