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: Paige Lowary
School: Dallas Center Grimes Community School (Grimes, Iowa)
Athletic Production: It would have been difficult for Lowary to repeat the success she enjoyed in 2012, but it appears Iowa’s reigning Gatorade Iowa Softball Player of the Year managed to do just that.
After leading the Mustangs to the Class 4A state final as a sophomore in 2012, Lowary still had unfinished business this past summer (Iowa plays varsity softball between May and July). To prove it, she guided the Mustangs (38-5) to the state championship, tossing a complete game four-hitter in a 5-2 victory against Carlisle in the 2013 title game.
Lowary finished 27-2 with a 1.21 ERA and 244 strikeouts in 191 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .131 average as a junior. She compiled a 31-4 record with a 0.39 ERA and 353 strikeouts in 233.1 innings during her Gatorade POY-winning campaign as a sophomore.
Academic Achievement: Lowary has maintained an A average.
Exemplary Character: Lowary’s work has been featured in a school art show display, and she has volunteered locally on behalf of Meals from the Heartland, a Des Moines-based non-profit organization that delivers meals to starving people across the world.