Gatorade® National Softball Player of the Year: Taylor McQuillin Gold Medalist and Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Amanda Freed Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., June 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recently announced Taylor McQuillin of Mission Viejo High School (Mission Viejo, Ca.) as its 2013-14 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year.  McQuillin was surprised with the news by gold medalist Amanda Freed, who earned Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year honors in 1997-98.

"I still remember the day when I was honored as the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year and winning the award is one of the most memorable moments in my career," said Freed. "It's such a rare accomplishment, so I was honored to be able to be a part of today's celebration by surprising Taylor with the award."

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 McQuillin as the nation's best high school softball player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select McQuillin from more than 360,000 high school softball players nationwide. McQuillin 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 5-foot-8 junior left-handed pitcher posted a 25-1 record in the circle with a 0.69 ERA this past season, leading the Diablos (26-1) to the Southern Section, Division II tournament title. A two-time South Coast League MVP, McQuillin struck out 316 batters and walked just 18 in 173.2 innings pitched. She fired four no-hitters, including two perfect games, and held opponents to a .120 batting average. At the plate, the teen, who is blind in her left eye, batted .323 with one home run and a .452 slugging percentage

McQuillin has maintained a 3.47 GPA in the classroom. A second-degree black belt in taekwondo and a member of the National Honor Society, she writes a weekly softball blog for She has donated her time as a tutor, teaching assistant and literacy-outreach ambassador at Lake Forest Elementary School. McQuillin has also volunteered as a youth instructor for the Orange County Batbusters as well on behalf of the St. Anne School's seasonal Fish & Loaves program for the needy.

"Taylor McQuillin exemplifies a warrior in the game of softball," said Bret Denio, National Director of Premier Girls Fastpitch. "She's worked hard to prove she is one of the top pitchers in the country. Taylor has good spin and can work inside and out as well as up and down. That ability to move the ball (and also) throw the change up and bring the heat just makes her all the more dangerous. She is also so strong mentally and just never gives in. She is a player I would love to have on my team and Arizona is getting a good one."

McQuillin has made a verbal commitment to play softball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2015.

"Taylor is an exceptional student-athlete who has earned recognition as the nation's best high school softball player while also excelling in the classroom and making a difference in her community," said Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley. "Taylor's statistics on the diamond speak for themselves, but even more impressive is the impact she has had on her teammates and the example she sets for younger student-athletes. Taylor represents everything we look to celebrate 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 USA TODAY High School Sports and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  • Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  • WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  • NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  • Kansas City Royals Cy Young award-winner Zach Grienke

For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at







Taylor McQuillin

Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo, CA

High School Junior


Carley Hoover

D.W. Daniel High School/Central, SC

Stanford University


Geri Ann Glasco

Oconee County High/Watkinsville, GA

University of Georgia


Paige McDuffee

The Woodlands/Woodlands, TX

High School Junior


Kasey Fagan

Dunnellon/Dunnellon, FL

University of Florida


Kenzie Fowler

Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ

University of Arizona


Kenzie Fowler

Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ

University of Arizona


Ashley Brignac

John Curtis Christian School/ River Ridge, LA

Univ. of Louisiana - Lafayette


Kirsten Shortridge

Keller/Keller, TX



Dani Hofer

Palm Harbor Univ./Palm Harbor, FL

 LSU Graduate


Anjelica Selden

Vanden/Fairfield, CA

UCLA Coaching Staff


Lisa Dodd

University City/San Diego, CA

Univ. of Nevada Coaching Staff


Alicia Hollowell

Fairfield/Fairfield, CA

Former U.S. National Team


Cat Osterman

Cypress Falls/Houston, TX

U.S. National Team


Tia Bollinger

Mater Dei/Santa Ana, CA

Univ. of Washington Graduate


Maureen LeCocq

Chaminade Prep/West Hills, CA

Stanford Univ. Graduate


Amanda Freed

Pacifica/Garden Grove, CA

Former U.S. National Team


SOURCE The Gatorade Company

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