TUCSON, Ariz., June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In its third decade of honoring
the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in
partnership with RISE Magazine, today announced junior pitcher Kenzie
Fowler of Canyon del Oro High School (Oro Valley, Ariz.) as its 2007-08
Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. Fowler becomes just the 10th
high school junior to win Gatorade National Player of the Year honors (of
196 honorees) in any sport.
The award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high
standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on
and off the field, distinguishes Fowler as the nation's best high school
softball player. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and
sport- specific experts from around the country helped select Fowler from
the more than 373,000 high school softball players nationwide. Fowler is
now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of
the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to
The ESPY Awards in July.
The 6-foot junior pitcher, who overcame life-threatening surgery and
spent eight days in intensive care battling the effects of a grave vascular
condition last spring, finished 24-1 with a 0.28 ERA, recording 309
strikeouts in 148.2 innings this season to lead the Dorados (33-4) to the
Class 4A, Division 1 state championship. She fired four no-hitters as well
as a perfect game en route to hurling 12 shutouts. Also the Southern
Arizona Player of the Year as named by the Tucson Citizen and an
All-Arizona First Team selection as named by the Arizona Republic, Fowler's
fastball has touched 71 mph, the same speed as University of Arizona legend
and Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch peaked as a collegian.
A two-time Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year, Fowler also
produced a .448 batting average, 33 RBI, 14 runs scored and five home runs
this spring. A roster member of the 2007 USA Softball Junior National Team
and an EA Sports All-American, Fowler struck out 12 and allowed just two
hits in Canyon del Oro's 3-2 state title victory against Saguaro in 2008,
which clinched the program's second straight championship.
As a sophomore, she finished 28-1 with a 0.16 ERA for the state
champion Dorados, recording 376 strikeouts, four no-hitters and two perfect
games. No slouch at the plate, Fowler hit .393 with seven home runs, 27 RBI
and a .663 slugging percentage in 2007.
Fowler has maintained a 3.39 GPA in the classroom. In addition to
participating in Canyon del Oro's Link Crew peer mentoring program, she
volunteers in the intensive care unit at University Medical Center in
Tucson, where she herself was treated, and reads to elementary school
students as part of a literacy-outreach program. Fowler also donates her
time by creating video highlight packages for her teammates, as well as
coaching area youth softball players.
"I haven't known an athlete as good as her," said Dave Thatcher,
athletic director at Canyon del Oro High. "We did have Bre Ladd (the
2001-02 Gatorade National Girls Volleyball Player of the Year), but there
aren't enough words for me to appropriately describe Kenzie. In the bigger
picture, she's always worried about everyone else on the team. She knows
the kids backing her up are her key."
Fowler has verbally committed to a softball scholarship to the
University of Arizona for the fall of 2009.
"Without question, Kenzie is deserving of recognition as the nation's
best high school softball player based on her statistics on the field and
the impact her play had on Canyon del Oro's success," said Gatorade Senior
Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. "But she is also a shining
example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a
student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a
Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner
in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high
school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and
girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and
girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each
sport. The selection process is administered by RISE Magazine, which works
with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished,
veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each
Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:
* Softball gold medalist Cat Osterman
* WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
* NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
* 2007 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
* Reigning 200-meter world champion Allyson Felix
* Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including
nomination information and lists of past winners and future announcement
dates, visit gatorade.com/playeroftheyear.
ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONOREES
Year Name High School Status
2007-08 Kenzie Fowler Canyon del Oro/ High School
Oro Valley, AZ Junior
2006-07 Ashley Brignac John Curtis Christian
School/River Ridge, LA Univ. of
2005-06 Kirsten Shortridge Keller/Keller, TX Baylor
2004-05 Dani Hofer Palm Harbor Univ./ LSU
Palm Harbor, FL
2003-04 Anjelica Selden Vanden/Fairfield, CA UCLA
2002-03 Lisa Dodd University City/San UCLA
2001-02 Alicia Hollowell Fairfield/Fairfield, CA Univ. of
2000-01 Cat Osterman Cypress Falls/Houston, TX Rockford
Thunder / U.S.
1999-00 Tia Bollinger Mater Dei/Santa Ana, CA Univ. of
1998-99 Maureen LeCocq Chaminade Prep/West Stanford
Hills, CA Univ.
1997-98 Amanda Freed Pacifica/Garden Grove, CA Rockford
Thunder / U.S.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company