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Gatorade Athletes of the Year to be named today

Top boy and girl athletes will be selected from among 12 Players of the Year

The Gatorade Boy and Girl High School Athlete of the Year awards will be presented today in Los Angeles at a special ceremony prior to the ESPY Awards, and we’ll be there. 

A national panel of roughly 400 journalists, coaches and high school sports experts determine the winners from among the 12 Gatorade Players of the Year.  Candidates are judged based on their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.

PHOTO GALLERY: Previous Gatorade Athletes of the Year

Check out the list of this year’s group of nominees and tell us who you think should win in the comments. Get updates from the ceremony by following us on Twitter and then check back later tonight for full coverage, including a potential interview with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

GIRL NOMINEES

Jordan Burgess
Volleyball, Berkeley Preparatory (Tampa, Fla.)
Why she should win: Burgess led Berekeley Prep to its third consecutive state title and was named the Class 4A Player of the Year. Burgess foundedEveryone Should Play, an organization that raises funds to help disadvantaged youths with the high costs of playing competitive sports, maintained a 3.9 GPA and signed a national letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Stanford.

Molly Seidel
Cross Country, University Lake School (Hartland, Wis.)
Why she should win: Seidel, who will compete for Notre Dame, won the Division 3 individual state championship in all four of her years at University Lake. She took first at the Foot Locker National Finals, ranked first in her class academically and volunteers for a community physical therapy program.

Breanna Stewart, @Bre_Stewart30
Basketball, Cicero-North Syracuse High School (Cicero, N.Y.)
Why she should win: Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies will reload with the addition of Stewart, the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2012. A member of the USA Basketball Women’s U19 National Team, Stewart boasts a cumulative GPA of 4.08 and has volunteered on behalf of Ronald McDonald House charities, the March of Dimes and the Special Olympics. 

Morgan Andrews
Soccer, Milford High School (Milford, N.H.)
Why she should win: Andrews scored 31 goals as a junior at Milford, bringing her three-year varsity total to 83. She’s verbally committed to play soccer at Boston College, maintains a 3.17 GPA and founded Kicks for Cans, a charity that provides training to youth soccer players in exchange for canned food for the local food bank.

Geri Ann Glasco
Softball, Oconee County High School (Watkinsville, Ga.)
Why she should win: Glasco was equally dominant in the circle (19-0, 0.50 ERA) and at the plate (.564, 24 HR, 62 RBI) for Oconee County, which captured the Class 3A state title. Glasco, who volunteers with several community service initiatives through her church, will continue her career at Georgia beginning in the fall.

Shelbi Vaughan
Track & Field, Legacy High School (Mansfield, Texas)
Why she should win: Vaughan, who assisted special needs students in P.E. classes at Legacy, set national high school and junior records in the discus at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 198 feet, 9 inches. She’ll throw for Texas A&M beginning in the fall.

BOY NOMINEES

Johnathan Gray
Football, Aledo High School (Aledo, Texas)
Why he should win: With 65 touchdowns as a senior, Gray set the national high school career scoring record and led Aledo to the Class 4A Division II state title. Gray, who volunteered with the Helping Hands Foundation at Baylor All Saints Hospital and promoted alcohol- and drug-awareness programs through a local community group, will play for Texas.

Futsum Zeinasellassie
Cross Country, North Central High School (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Why he should win: Zeinasellassie won three state championships at North Central, including a 44-second victory at the state championships as a senior. Zeinasellassie has overcome the language barrier since coming to the United States from Eritrea as a seventh-grader and has served as a local youth running coach in Indianapolis. He will continue his career at Northern Arizona.

Jabari Parker, @JabariParker22
Basketball, Simeon Career Academy (Chicago, Ill.)
Why he should win: One of the most talented players in the class of 2013, Parker led Simeon to its third straight Class 4A state championship last season, averaging 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Parker ranks 18th in his class and has volunteered with Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity).

Ema Boateng
Soccer, Cate School (Carpinteria, Calif.)
Why he should win: Boateng scored 32 goals and led Cate to the CIF-Southern Section Division VII championship last season and ended his three-year high school career with 79 goals and 49 assists. Boateng, who has volunteered with several local community service projects, earned enough credits to graduate a year early and will begin his college career at UC Santa Barbara in the fall.

Lance McCullers Jr., @LMcCullers_23
Baseball, Jesuit High School (Tampa, Fla.)
Why he should win: The 2011-12 USA TODAY All-USA Player of the Year led Jesuit to the Class 5A state semifinals as a senior, posting a 13-0 record and a 0.18 ERA. McCullers signed a national letter of intent to play at Florida, but signed with the Houston Astros, who selected him with the 41st pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. McCullers volunteered with the Special Olympics and Metropolitan Ministries among other local charity initiatives.

VIDEOS: McCullers Jr. in "The Winning Formula"
VIDEO: See How McCullers Jr. Deals With Pressure

Abraham Hall
Track & Field, South Grand Prairie High School (Grand Prairie, Texas)
Why he should win: Hall won the 100- and 200-meter titles at the Class 5A state championships as a senior. He maintained a 3.71 GPA, has volunteered with local youth track and field programs and will attend Army beginning in the fall.

http://usatodayhss.com/2012/gatorade-athletes-of-the-year-to-be-named-today
Gatorade Athletes of the Year to be named today
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