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: Taylor Nelson
School: Granite Bay (Calif.)
Athletic Production: Led by Nelson, the Grizzlies avenged a 3-0 loss to Sacramento’s St. Francis High in the 2012 Division I Sac-Joaquin sectional final with their own sweep this past weekend, keeping the dream alive of becoming the area’s first ever Div. I state volleyball champion.
The 5-foot-11 senior setter amassed 26 assists, five digs, four blocks, two digs and a service ace in the sectional title match. Granite Bay next faces Oakland (Calif.) Skyline in the NorCal playoffs.
On the season, the Cal Poly-bound Nelson has totaled a remarkable 872 assists, 174 kills, 125 digs, 83 service aces and 52 blocks, leading the Grizzlies to a 41-0 record and the No. 13 spot on PrepVolleyball.com’s national rankings.
Academic Achievement: Nelson has maintained an A average.
Exemplary Character: In addition to donating her time as a Spanish and math tutor, Nelson has volunteered as a youth volleyball instructor at summer volleyball camps and served as an assistant for North California Volleyball Club’s team of 13-year-olds.