NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 34th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Ellie Holzman of Mt. Carmel Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana as the 2018-19 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. Holzman won the award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining a group of Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year awardees that have gone on to have incredible success – they've combined for 63 gold medals and five National Championships.
Holzman was awarded during her lunch period at Mt. Carmel Academy while surrounded by family, friends, teammates and coaches. 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 Holzman as the nation's best high school volleyball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Holzman from nearly half a million high school volleyball players nationwide. Holzman is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
"Holzman embodies that big arm on the outside that every team craves," says Chris Tobolski, content editor for PrepVolleyball.com. "She's worked hard to evolve from a pure middle blocker to being a six-rotation outside hitter who can carry an offense. She's powerful and can take over a match with her offensive prowess like few in her class can. Perhaps best of all, she's shown she's a big-game performer who can play at her highest level on the biggest stage."
The 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker and outside hitter led the Cubs to a 42-2 record and a fourth-straight Division I state championship this past season. Holzman slammed 571 kills and compiled 303 digs to go with 101 blocks and 30 service aces, posting a kill percentage of .533 and a hitting percentage of .486. A two-time MaxPreps First Team All-American selection, she concluded her prep volleyball career with 2,426 kills, 1,379 digs and 749 blocks.
A member of the Latin National Honor Society and MCA's Book Club, Holzman has volunteered locally with an anti-drug program and as a youth volleyball and basketball coach. Additionally, Holzman has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Illinois this fall.
"For the Gatorade Player of the Year award, we look for student-athletes that stand out in their sport, at school and in their community and Ellie Holzman does just that," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "Not only is Holzman one of the best high school volleyball players in the country, but she is also a model student in the classroom and someone to look up to in her community."
Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Holzman has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
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, volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
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, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter 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 www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company