Each season, Gatorade recognizes one student-athlete from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., who embodies its Player of the Year program’s three pillars: athletic production, academic achievement and exemplary character.
Each week during its Gatorade State Player of the Year selection process, USA TODAY surfaces one candidate who meets those criteria and deserves recognition as a serious Gatorade State Player of the Year contender.
Name: Caley Stafford
School: Buffalo (Wyo.)
Sport: Girls soccer
Athletic Production: Stafford is a three-time All-State swimmer, but she’s most at home on the pitch.
The returning Class 3A Underclassmen of the Year has tallied 13 goals and four assists as a senior striker this season, contributing to 50 percent of the Bison’s scores during their 6-3 weather-ravaged start.
Stafford has recorded 44 goals and 23 assists in her career, earning All-Conference honors every year since joining varsity.
Academic Achievement: Stafford has maintained an A-plus average and ranks first in her graduating class.
Exemplary Character: The vice president of her senior class and a two-time member of the All-District Honor Choir, Stafford has mentored incoming freshman students in addition to volunteering locally on behalf of Meals on Wheels, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an area recycling center and youth soccer programs.