It is awards season here at VYPE!
We welcome you to the Countdown to the 2021 VYPE Awards presented by Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Over the next two weeks, we will be unveiling the finalists for the player of the year awards. Team and Coach of the Year awards will be announced LIVE during the Fourth Annual VYPE Awards.
The winners will be honored in a one-hour virtual show on Sunday, June 27 at 6 p.m. on VYPE Houston's website, Twitter account and on the VYPE Texas Facebook page and YouTube Channel! It will be an event to get dressed up for and to tune in to as it will be an evening full of special moments!
Let us get it started! Here are the finalists for Public School Volleyball Player of the Year!
PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST: Ally Batenhorst, Seven Lakes
Ally Batenhorst was one of the keys to Seven Lakes winning the program's first-ever state championship in December. Despite the team having to battle a shutdown due to COVID, the Spartans were able to run the gauntlet and win the Class 6A State Championship. Batenhorst after the season was named the Texas and National Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year. She is off to Nebraska.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST: Devan Taylor, Klein
Devan Taylor pieced together an impressive senior campaign at Klein. The Bearkats made it to the Class 6A Championship game where they fell to Seven Lakes 3-1. Taylor helped guide Klein to a 27-1 overall record and had 242 kills and 423 digs. Taylor is off to Clemson University.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST: Ellie Echter, Fulshear
Fulshear has been one of the more remarkable stories over the last few years in Houston. The Chargers won the Class 4A State Championship in 2019 and them moved up to Class 5A prior to this year and still made it back to the state championship match. Ellie Echter has been a big piece to that success over the past few seasons and had yet another great year in 2020.
Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is Houston's leading provider of orthopedic services, from sports medicine to joint replacement. Houston Methodist offers comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative services with a high standard of excellence for elite athletes, active adults and student athletes. Houston Methodist serves as the official health care provider for the Houston Texans, Houston Astros, Rice Athletics, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera.
Katy, Texas [May 12, 2021] – 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.
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.
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