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Ally Batenhorst Named 2020-21 Gatorade® National Volleyball Player of the Year

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Olympic Medalist April Ross Surprises Batenhorst with Honor

KATY, Texas, May 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 36th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Ally Batenhorst of Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas is the 2020-21 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. Batenhorst won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year winners who have combined for 92 gold medals and 13 National Championships.

Olympic medalist April Ross virtually surprised Batenhorst with the news, while her family, coaches and teammates showed up with the trophy at school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Batenhorst as the nation's best high school volleyball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Batenhorst from nearly half a million other student-athletes who play high school volleyball nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Batenhorst topped the list of state winners in volleyball who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 37 with signed letters of intent at Division 1 schools, 30 with a GPA of 4.0 and above, and 6 returning state Gatorade Players of the Year.

"Ally is a six-rotation, pin hitter who can terminate with equal facility from the left or right sides," said John Tawa, national volleyball writer at VolleyballMag.com. "She's 6-foot-4, with long arms and long legs, which makes her an absolute handful at the net. She has also improved her first contact so significantly that she's become an impact player on defense and in the serve-receive game. I think she'll be a plug-and-play performer at Nebraska who will excel wherever the Huskers need her."

The 6-foot-4 senior outside hitter led the Spartans to a 25-1 record and the Class 6A state championship this past season. Batenhorst amassed 574 kills, 371 digs, 33 blocks and 32 service aces. The Class 6A Player of the Year and the Greater Houston Player of the Year, she was MVP of the state tournament. Batenhorst was named a 2020-21 Under Armour First Team All-American, a VolleyballMag.com First Team All-American and a MaxPreps First Team All-American.

Batenhorst has served as a peer mentor in addition to volunteering locally on behalf of hurricane relief efforts and the Ballard House, which provides temporary lodging for individuals and their families who are hospitalized or receiving treatment.

Batenhorst has maintained a weighted 4.11 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Nebraska this fall.

"It's truly an incredible feat for a Gatorade Player of the Year to outshine so many tough competitors," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "Nearly half a million student-athletes play high school volleyball and Batenhorst stood above them all."

Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track and field.

Gatorade is dedicated to recognizing, supporting and keeping athletes in the game because of the lifelong skills sports instill on and off the field. Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Jayson Tatum, Derek Jeter, Elena Delle Donne and many other sports icons.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

YEAR

NAME

HOMETOWN

STATUS

2019-20

Jess Mruzik

Farmington Hills, MI

University of Michigan

2018-19

Ellie Holzman

New Orleans, LA

University of Illinois

2017-18

Thayer Hall

Roebuck, SC

University of Florida

2016-17

Lexi Sun

Solana Beach, CA

University of Nebraska

2015-16

Khalia Lanier

Phoenix, AZ

Zanetti Bergamo (Italy)

2014-15

Mikaela Foecke

West Point, IA

US Women's National Team

2013-14

Alexa Filley

Louisville, KY

Played for Auburn University

2012-13

Lauren Carlini

Aurora, IL

US Women's National Team & Türk Hava Yollan (Turkey)

2011-12

Jordan Burgess

Tampa, FL

Played for Stanford University; student at Stanford Medical School

2010-11

Krista Vansant

Redlands, CA

Retired from US Women's National Team

2009-10

Ashley Wittman

Shakopee, MN

Played for University of Minnesota

2008-09

Gina Mancuso

Papillion, NE

Played for University of Nebraska

2007-08

Kelly Murphy

Wilmington, IL

Retired from US Women's National Team

2006-07

Alix Klineman

Manhattan Beach, CA

Team USA Beach

2005-06

Megan Easy (née Hodge)

Durham, NC

Plays for Itambe/Minas (Brazil)

2004-05

Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

Retired from US Women's National Team; Ph.D. candidate at USC Price

2003-04

Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

Retired from US Women's National Team; Ph.D. candidate at USC Price

2002-03

Kristin Richards

Orem, UT

Retired from US Women's National Team

2001-02

Bre Ladd

Tucson, AZ

Played for University of Arizona

2000-01

Ogonna Nnamani

Bloomington, IL

Retired from US Women's National Team; M.D. Reconstructive Surgery

1999-00

April Ross

Newport Beach, CA

Team USA Beach

1998-99

Logan Tom

Pelham, AL

Retired from US Women's National Team

1997-98

Sara Sandrik

Salt Lake City, UT

Played for Stanford University

1996-97

Denise Boylan

Lisle, IL

Played for University of Notre Dome

1995-96

Kerri Walsh Jennings

San Jose, CA

Team USA Beach

About Gatorade
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in Sports and Fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk, Evolve and Bolt24. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs and occasions of different types of sports and fitness. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by more than 50-year history of studying the best athletes in the world and sports-nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically-formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

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SOURCE The Gatorade Company