The caliber of athletes honored by Gatorade with its High School Athlete of the Year Awards has been quite impressive since the awards were introduced in 1986. Names like Lebron James and Peyton Manning show up on the banners honoring past winners, and this year’s NBA Draft saw the two previous winners for the men’s High School Athlete of the Year Award, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, going first and second in the draft.
We had the opportunity to meet both of these young talents as we covered the awards over the past several years, along with female standouts like Breanna Stewart who has already won two National Championships at UConn in her first two years there! We were back this year for the awards ceremony on Tuesday night to see hoops standout Karl Towns Jr. receive the honor as the top high school male athlete and Brianna Turner receive the honor for top female athlete.
Both athletes have impressive resumes and will likely become household names soon as well. Towns will be playing for the Kentucky Wildcats who are always in the mix in the NCAA Tournament while Turner will attend Notre Dame where she’ll likely run into Stewart and her Huskies as Notre Dame tries to mount a serious challenge to the UConn dynasty in women’s basketball. Both gave great acceptance speeches thanking their parents for their sacrifices. We spoke with Karl Towns Jr. and will have that interview up soon.
The award ceremony was hosted by ESPN’s Hannah Storm and featured a number of popular athletes, including U.S. women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm, Steven Jackson from the Atlanta Falcons, Eddie Lacy from the Green Bay Packers, Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, soccer player Omar Gonzalez from the U.S. Men’s National Team and Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks. Omar Gonzalez got quite a bit of attention with the impressive showing of the U.S. Men’s National Team in the World Cup. Also, Brandon Knight is a former winner of this award and Bradley Beal is a former nominee, so both of them were thrilled to be at this year’s event. We spoke with many of them and we’ll be posting the videos soon so check back.
Everyone was happy to be a part of this event that celebrates athletic achievement along with academic achievement as well. We spoke with Hanna Storm who had a great time meeting the athletes and particularly enjoyed speaking with their parents. As a parent herself she said she could really understand their pride while also appreciating the challenges of raising kids and watching them take on new challenges.
The achievements of this group are truly remarkable. For example, Justus Sheffield parlayed his amazing pitching stats into being a first-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in the Major League Baseball Draft. Below is a list of the other nominees:
2013-14 Male Nominees
Football – Andrew Brown
Boys Cross Country – Grant Fisher
Boys Soccer – Abu Danladi
Baseball – Justus Sheffield
Boys Track & Field – Trentavis Friday
2013-14 Female Nominees
Volleyball – Alexa Filley
Girls Cross Country – Alexa Efraimson
Girls Soccer – Katie Cousins
Softball – Taylor McQuillin
Girls Track & Field – Raven Saunders
We love attending this event as year after year we get an up-close look at many future sports stars along with meeting great young men and women who have achieved so much and have so many more achievements in front of them.