30 years, 30 things to know about Gatorade award winners

30 years, 30 things to know about Gatorade award winners

Gatorade Player of the Year

30 years, 30 things to know about Gatorade award winners

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For the past 30 years, Gatorade has honored the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character with the Gatorade Player of the Year award. On July 14, the 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year from the 2014-15 season will gather in Hollywood, where the 13th annual GatoradeHigh School Athlete of the Year award will be presented to the best overall male and female athlete. Abby Wambach, J.J. Watt, Draymond Green and other star athletes are expected to be on hand.

Here are 30 interesting facts about past winners:

1. Of the 30 baseball players of the year, 25 signed professional contracts out of high school. Of the five others, two went to college to play football as their primary sport.

2.. This year’s baseball Player of the Year, Luken Baker (Oak Ridge, Texas), is the first winner in 21 years to attend college for baseball. Baker asked teams not to draft him because he wanted to play at TCU.

3. 2011 Female Athlete of the Year Morgan Brian (Frederica Academy; St. Simons Island, Ga.) played all 90 minutes of the U.S.A’s 2015 Women’s World Cup final win over Japan.

RELATED: Meet this year’s finalists

4. The two Male Athletes of the Year among the 11 who are currently not playing a sport are both named Greg and have associations with Ohio State (Paulus coaches there and Oden went there). Paulus (Christian Brothers Academy; DeWitt, N.Y.) went to Duke to play point guard and then transferred to Syracuse to play quarterback. Oden (Lawrence North; Indianapolis, Ind.) was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft but his NBA career was short-circuited by injuries.

5. Including Oden, six boys basketball Players of the Year were No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft.

6. 2012 Female Athlete of the Year Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse; Cicero, N.Y.) will go for her fourth consecutive women’s basketball national title with UConn in 2015-16.

7. The only two-time girls basketball Player of the Year was Candace Parker (Naperville Central, Ill.). Parker won the girls basketball honor in 2003 and 2004 and the overall Female Athlete of the Year in 2004.

Candace Parker of Naperville, Ill. Central High School, dunks during the Powerade Jam Fest as part of the McDonald's All-American High School Team competition held at Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City, Monday, March 29, 2004. (Photo: Ty Russell, The Oklahoman/AP).

Candace Parker of Naperville, Ill. Central High School, dunks during the Powerade Jam Fest as part of the McDonald’s All-American High School Team competition held at Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City, Monday, March 29, 2004. (Photo: Ty Russell, The Oklahoman/AP).

8. Only three baseball players of the year have gone on to win either MVP or Cy Young in the majors (Alex Rodriguez, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw).

9. Stanford and Oregon combine for six of the eight boys cross country athletes of the year.

10. 2006 Female Soccer Player of the Year Lauren Cheney is now Lauren Holiday after marrying current New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.

11. 2001 football Player of the Year Joe Mauer (Cretin-Derham; St. Paul, Minn) is an All-Star catcher for the Minnesota Twins.

12. 1987 football Player of the Year Emmitt Smith (Escambia; Pensacola, Fla.) is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards.

13. 1994 football Player of the Year Peyton Manning (Newman; New Orleans, La.) will likely take over the top spot for all-time NFL passing yards this season.

14. Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H.) is the only girls soccer player to win the sport’s award in consecutive years. She currently attends and plays for USC.

15. The inaugural winner of baseball Player of the Year Gary Sheffield is often referred to as the uncle of 2014 winner Justus Sheffield, but the two are not related.

16. Five of the last 10 girls basketball Players of the Year went on to play for UConn.

17. 2013 boys cross country winner Edward Cheserek (St. Benedict Prep; Newark, N.J.) has already won four NCAA titles and made five All-American teams in his first two years of college at Oregon.

18. Inaugural Boys Soccer National Player of the Year Kevin Hundelt (St. Thomas Aquinas-Mercy; Hazelwood, Mo.) spent his entire professional career playing indoor soccer.

19. 2001 softball AOY Cat Osterman (Cypress, Tex.) was a 4-time All-American at Texas and will cap an illustrious career in 2015 after starring on Team USA.

20. Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was the only two-time winner of the girls track and field award. She then won the award for a third time and went on to play basketball and run track at North Carolina.

21. Inaugural volleyball Player of the Year Kerri Walsh (Archbishop Mitty; San Jose, Calif.) went on to win three Olympic gold medals in beach volleyball.

Kerri Walsh kisses her gold medal on the podium of the 2012 London Olympic Games. (Photo: Chris Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports)

Kerri Walsh kisses her gold medal on the podium of the 2012 London Olympic Games. (Photo: Chris Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports)

22. 1998 baseball Player of the Year Drew Henson (Brighton, Mich.) became a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

23. 2002 baseball winner Zack Greinke (Apopka, Fla.) and 2006 winner Clayton Kershaw (Dallas) are teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Greinke is starting the All-Star Game for the National League on Tuesday.

24. The last four boys basketball Players of the Year to play in college were all top three picks in the NBA Draft.

25. 1991 boys soccer winner Claudio Reyna is a former U.S. Men’s National Team star and is now the director of operations for New York City FC.

26. From 1989-98, 10 consecutive girls track and field winners hailed from California

27. 2003 female athlete of the year Allyson Felix (Los Angeles Baptist; North Hills, Calif.) has won four Olympic gold medals.

28. All 12 of the Male Athletes of the Year have played either football, baseball or basketball.

29. The first name of five of the last six girls soccer winners has started with the letter M: Mollie Pathman, Morgan Brian, Morgan Andrews (two-time winner) and Mallory Pugh.

30. 2014 girls cross country winner Alexa Efraimson signed a contract with Nike that allowed her to forgo her senior year of high school and not attend college.

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