Basketball

Kiki Rice Named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year

At the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards, Kiki Rice was named the 2022 Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year and Colin Sahlman was named the 2022 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year. Sahlman is the first-ever boys cross country athlete to win the award and Rice is further solidifying her multi-sport dominance, having won both the Gatorade Washington D.C. Girls Soccer and Basketball Player of the Year award twice in her high school career.

The winners were announced at Gatorade’s first in-person awards show since 2019, with a completely new look and feel thanks to influential artist Drake Cereal and host Taylor Rooks. Gatorade revamped its historically intimate award show to welcome the next generation of athletes to the family with the hottest ticket in high school sports. The exclusive ceremony was attended by sports influencers, professional athletes and former Gatorade Players of the Year, including:

  • Ashlyn Harris, NJ/NY Gotham FC, US Women’s National Team goalkeeper and 2003-04 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year
  • Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons guard and fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft
  • Haley JonesStanford Women’s Basketball point-forward, 2022 Pac-12 Player of the Year, and two-time Gatorade California Girls Basketball Player of the Year
  • Renee Montgomery, former WNBA player and 2005-06 Gatorade New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year
  • JJ Watt, Arizona Cardinals defensive end, three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

“We brought together our Gatorade National Players of the Year for a one-of-a-kind, star-studded award ceremony and after party to recognize and celebrate the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character,” said Gatorade President and General Manager Michael Del Pozzo. “Joining the likes of Paige BueckersSydney McLaughlin and Jayson Tatum, there’s no doubt this year’s winners of the prestigious Gatorade Athlete of the Year award have incredibly bright futures ahead.”

Making this year’s celebration even more special, each of the 12 nominees is memorialized in an NFT, created in collaboration with Vayner3.  These NFTs are available for sale to the public on OneOf.com/Gatorade through 5pm EST on July 20, 2022. The “Gatorade Game Changers: Player of the Year NFT Pack” is the brand’s first foray into Web3 and Non-Fungible Tokens and proceeds from the sales (less expenses of OneOf.com to issue the NFTs) will be donated to Good Sports, a nonprofit that drives equitable access in youth sports and physical activity.

Established 37 years ago in 1985, the Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their accomplishments on and off the field. Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 608 state winners, only 12 are selected as national winners for their individual sport and become nominees for Gatorade Athlete of the Year, which is awarded to the nation’s top overall female and male high school athletes. With more than six million student-athletes who participate in the 12 sports awarded by Gatorade Player of the Year, competition is fierce for the most prestigious award in high school sports.

Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and knows playing sports has the power to change lives, with lasting cognitive, social and emotional benefits, as well as increased chances to succeed in school and go to college. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, all Gatorade State Players of the Year have the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Gatorade also awards one spotlight grant of $10,000 for each of the 12 sports recognized by the program. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations. New this year, Gatorade gave an additional $20,000 grant to the first-ever Gatorade Play It Forward Alumni Award winner, presented at the Gatorade Athlete of the Year awards show.

2021-22 GATORADE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
Kiki Rice: Washington D.C.’s returning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Rice of Sidwell Friends School led the Quakers to a 28-0 record and the DCSAA Tournament title this past season, earning her squad the nation’s No. 1 national ranking by MaxPreps. Rice averaged 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.6 steals per game and also lifted Sidwell Friends to the ISL Division AA tournament championship. Below are additional facts about Rice:

  • Won a gold medal with the 2021 USA Basketball U18 Junior National 3×3 Team at the World Cup in Hungary
  • Won a gold medal with the U16 National Team at the 2019 FIBA Americas Championships in Chile
  • McDonald’s All-American Game selection and won the 2022 Naismith Award
  • In addition to girls basketball, also a two-time Gatorade Washington D.C. Girls Soccer Player of the Year (2018-19 & 2020-21)
  • Volunteers locally with So Others Might Eat, as a mentor to younger Sidwell Friends students and has donated her time as a veteran leader in the Sidwell Friends Athletic Leadership Academy
  • Maintained a B-plus average in the classroom
  • Signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at UCLA this fall

Colin Sahlman: California’s returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Player of the Year, Sahlman of Newbury Park High School (Newbury Park, Calif.) raced to the individual national title at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships this past season with a time of 14:03.3, the fastest 5K time in US prep history, while also leading the Panthers to a national championship as a team. Below are additional facts about Sahlman:

  • Won the Division I state championship in 14:26.5, helping Newbury Park capture first place as a team
  • Broke the tape at the Clovis Invitational, the Marmonte League finals and the Southern Section Championships
  • Volunteers locally feeding the homeless on behalf of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, and has donated his time as a coach for the Camarillo Cosmos Youth Track Program and as a counselor at the Mile High Running Camp in Big Bear
  • Maintained a 3.47 GPA in the classroom
  • Signed a National Letter of Intent to run on scholarship at Northern Arizona University this fall

2021-22 GATORADE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
The 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year are nominees for Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, awarded to one male and one female. The nominees will walk the red carpet ahead of the ESPYs and be featured during the show, which airs live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Below were this year’s nominees:

NAME

SPORT

HIGH SCHOOL

BOUND FOR…

GIRLS

Averi Carlson

Volleyball

Lovejoy High School (Lucas, Texas)

Baylor University

Natalie Cook

Cross Country

Flower Mound High School (Flower Mound, Texas)

Oklahoma State University

Kiki Rice

Basketball

Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.)

University of California Los Angeles

Keagan Rothrock

Softball

Roncalli High School (Indianapolis, In.)

University of Florida

Riley Jackson

Girls Soccer

Blessed Trinity Catholic High School (Roswell, Ga.)

Junior year of high school

Juliette Whittaker

Track & Field

Mount De Sales Academy (Catonsville, Md.)

Stanford University

BOYS

Nick Singleton

Football

Governor Mifflin High School (Shillington, Pa.)

Penn State University

Colin Sahlman

Cross Country

Newbury Park High School (Newbury Park, Calif.)

Northern Arizona University

Gradey Dick

Basketball

Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)

University of Kansas

Brock Porter

Baseball

St. Mary’s Preparatory School (Orchard Lake, Mi.)

Clemson University

Jacob Murrell

Boys Soccer

McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.)

Georgetown University

Cade Flatt

Track & Field

Marshall County High School (Benton, Ky.)

University of Mississippi

PAST GATORADE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
Past Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have gone on to win hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.

Former winners of the Gatorade Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year award include:

2020

Male:

Arik Gilbert / Football (Marietta, Ga. / University of Georgia)

Female:

Paige Bueckers / Basketball (Minnetonka, Minn. / University of Connecticut)

2019

Male:

Bobby Witt Jr. / Baseball (Colleyville, Texas / Kansas City Royals)

Female:

Kelley Lynch / Softball (Sharpsburg, Ga. / University of Washington)

2018

Male:

J.T. Daniels / Football (Santa Ana, Calif. / West Virginia University)

Female:

Katelyn Tuohy / Cross Country and Track & Field (Thiells, N.Y. / North Carolina State University)

2017

Male:

MacKenzie Gore / Baseball (Whiteville, N.C. / San Diego Padres)

Female:

Sydney McLaughlin / Track & Field (Scotch Plains, N.J. / USA Track & Field)

2016

Male:

Jayson Tatum / Basketball (St. Louis, Mo. / Boston Celtics)

Female:

Sydney McLaughlin / Track & Field (Scotch Plains, N.J. / USA Track & Field)

2015

Male:

Kyler Murray / Football (Allen, Texas / Arizona Cardinals)

Female:

Candace Hill / Track & Field (Conyers, Ga. / ASICS Sprinter)

2014

Male:

Karl-Anthony Towns / Basketball (Metuchen, N.J. / Minnesota Timberwolves)

Female:

Brianna Turner / Basketball (Manvel, Texas / Phoenix Mercury)

2013

Male:

Andrew Wiggins / Basketball (Huntington, W.Va. / Golden State Warriors)

Female:

Morgan Andrews / Soccer (Milford, N.H. / OL Reign)

2012

Male:

Johnathan Gray / Football (Aledo, Texas / Retired College Athlete)

Female:

Breanna Stewart / Basketball (Cicero, N.Y. / Seattle Storm)

2011

Male:

Dylan Bundy / Baseball (Owasso, Okla. / Minnesota Twins)

Female:

Morgan Brian / Soccer (St. Simons Island, Ga. / Chicago Red Stars)

2010

Male:

Brandon Knight / Basketball (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Dallas Mavericks)

Female:

Chiney Ogwumike / Basketball (Cypress, Texas / Los Angeles Sparks)

2009

Male:

Garrett Gilbert / Football (Austin, Texas / NFL Free Agent)

Female:

Skylar Diggins / Basketball (South Bend, Ind. / Phoenix Mercury)

2008

Male:

Matt Barkley / Football (Santa Ana, Calif. / Buffalo Bills)

Female:

Chanelle Price / Track & Field (Easton, Penn. / USA Track & Field)

2007

Male:

Kevin Love / Basketball (Lake Oswego, Ore. / Cleveland Cavaliers)

Female:

Maya Moore / Basketball (Suwanee, Ga. / Minnesota Lynx)

2006

Male:

Greg Oden / Basketball (Indianapolis, Ind. / Retired Pro Athlete)

Female:

Tina Charles / Basketball (New York / Seattle Storm)

2005

Male:

Greg Paulus / Football (Syracuse, N.Y. / Niagara University Coaching Staff)

Female:

Cynthia Barboza / Volleyball (Long Beach, Calif. / Retired Pro Athlete)

2004

Male:

Dwight Howard / Basketball (Atlanta, Ga. / Los Angeles Lakers)

Female:

Candace Parker / Basketball (Naperville, Ill. / Chicago Sky)

2003

Male:

LeBron James / Basketball (Akron, Ohio / Los Angeles Lakers)

Female:

Allyson Felix / Track & Field (Los Angeles / USA Track & Field)

To learn more about the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards and Gatorade Player of the Year program, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.

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