GatoradeÂ® National Softball Player of the Year: Paige McDuffee
THE WOODLANDS, Texas, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In its 26th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Paige McDuffee of The Woodlands High School (The Woodlands, Texas) as its 2010-11 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. McDuffee was surprised with the news during a city parade and celebration of the Highlanders softball team’s recent Class 5A state championship and a No. 1 national ranking.
As the recipient of the 232nd Gatorade National Player of the Year trophy to be awarded since 1985, McDuffee becomes the third student-athlete from the state of Texas to earn Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year honors, following Gold Medalist Cat Osterman of Cy Springs High School (2000-01) and 2010 collegiate All-American Kirsten Shortridge of Keller High School (2005-06). McDuffee is only the 16th underclassman to win a national Gatorade honors, the second in the sport of softball, joining two-time national winner Kenzie Fowler (2007-08, 2008-09 Canyon Del Oro HS; Oro Valley, Ariz.), a sophomore two-time All-American with the Arizona Wildcats.
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 McDuffee as the nation’s best high school softball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select McDuffee from more than 378,000 softball players nationwide. McDuffee is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The 5-foot-9 junior left-handed pitcher led the Highlanders (44-1) to the Class 5A state championship this past season, earning postseason tournament MVP honors. McDuffee posted a 37-1 record on the mound along with a 0.97 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 202 innings pitched. A 2010 Class 5A First Team All-State selection, she batted .405 with one home run, nine doubles and 42 RBI. McDuffee posted a 12-1 record during a grueling postseason run en route to the state title, battling a partially detached muscle in her left forearm and a left ring-finger injury. The 2010 District 14-5A MVP for the Woodlands, McDuffee owns a 62-4 record and a 0.58 ERA in two seasons with the program after capturing the 2009 District 4-5A MVP award as a member of the Mansfield High softball team her freshman year. She led The Woodlands to a No. 1 ranking this year in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 and will receive All-State and All-Conference recognition.
McDuffee has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. A member of the Crossroads Church Youth Group, she has volunteered locally as part of her team’s Adopt-a-Family program to benefit the needy in addition to serving as a counselor for the Highlanders’ bi-annual softball camps and as an instructor in area youth leagues. McDuffee has also donated her time on behalf of Cook Children’s Hospital, the Lena Pope Home for at-risk youth, and Apple Tree Home Care for senior citizens, all in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“I think Paige McDuffee is absolutely the real deal,” said Derek Allister of OnDeck Softball, a California-based recruiting and talent-evaluation service. “If you’re a high-level position player with her batting numbers in Texas 5A in the Woodlands’ conference, you’re a big-time offensive player, too. So I think that production combined with her pitching success is just amazing. With her postseason run in Texas, that’s a pretty big statement for her, especially when you consider that even the great Cat Osterman never reached the Texas state semifinals.”
McDuffee has made a verbal commitment to play softball on scholarship at UCLA beginning in the fall of 2012.
“Without question, Paige is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school softball player based on her statistics on the field and the impact her accomplishments have had on The Woodlands High Schools’ success,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms. “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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.
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 SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
YEAR NAME HIGH SCHOOL STATUS Paige 2010-11 McDuffee The Woodlands/Woodlands, TX High School Junior 2009-10 Kasey Fagan Dunnellon/Dunnellon, FL University of Florida 2008-09 Kenzie Fowler Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ University of Arizona 2007-08 Kenzie Fowler Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ University of Arizona Ashley John Curtis Christian School/ Univ. of Louisiana - 2006-07 Brignac River Ridge, LA Lafayette Kirsten 2005-06 Shortridge Keller/Keller, TX LSU Palm Harbor Univ./Palm 2004-05 Dani Hofer Harbor, FL LSU Graduate Anjelica 2003-04 Selden Vanden/Fairfield, CA UCLA Coaching Staff Univ. of Nevada 2002-03 Lisa Dodd University City/San Diego, CA Coaching Staff Alicia Former U.S. National 2001-02 Hollowell Fairfield/Fairfield, CA Team 2000-01 Cat Osterman Cypress Falls/Houston, TX U.S. National Team Univ. of Washington 1999-00 Tia Bollinger Mater Dei/Santa Ana, CA Graduate Maureen Stanford Univ. 1998-99 LeCocq Chaminade Prep/West Hills, CA Graduate Former U.S. National 1997-98 Amanda Freed Pacifica/Garden Grove, CA Team