Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:00 AM EST

LUCAS, Texas, Jan. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 37th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Averi Carlson of Lovejoy High School in Lucas, TX is the 2021-22 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. Carlson won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Volleyball Players of the Year who have gone on to have incredible success – they've combined for 91 gold medals and 13 National Championships.

Carlson was surprised with the trophy by her family, coaches and teammates 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 Carlson as the nation's best high school volleyball player. The Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others to evaluate candidates, selected Carlson from nearly half a million other student-athletes who play high school volleyball nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Carlson topped the list of state winners in volleyball who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including nine returning state Gatorade Players of the Year, 27 with a GPA of 4.0 and above and 35 with signed National Letters of Intent to play volleyball at Division I colleges/universities.

"Averi Carlson is arguably the most versatile and efficient player in the country," said Chris Fitzgerald, a national analyst for Prepdig.com. "As a setter, she knows how to put her attackers in an optimal position to score, and her greatest strength is that her weaknesses are nearly imperceptible. She makes something extremely difficult look easy, so smooth. Carlson is a true maestro, conducting the game at her speed. She raises the level of play for everyone on her side of the net. She's a proven winner for Lovejoy, setting and playing on the pin to really showcase how dynamic her skill set has become."

The 6-foot senior setter led the Leopards to a 42-6 record and the Class 5A state championship this past season. Carlson amassed 919 assists and 378 digs along with 212 kills and 72 service aces. A First Team Under Armour All-American, she was the state championship MVP and the Dallas Morning News Player of the Year. Also a MaxPreps First Team All-American, Carlson is a member of the U.S. Women's U20 National Team and is ranked as the nation's No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2022 by PrepVolleyball.com.

Carlson has volunteered on behalf of Grace Bridge regional food bank in Celina, the Samaritan Inn homeless shelter in McKinney and the Special Olympics. An active member of Lovejoy's PALS (Peer Assistance Leadership Skills) program and the Prestonwood Baptist Church community, she has also donated her time as an upperclassman to PAWS, which assists special needs students.

Carlson has maintained a 3.98 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Baylor University this fall.

"Athletes make an impact not just on the field of play, but in their communities," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "Averi Carlson knows this better than anyone as she is equally focused on making the world a better place as she continues to perfect her craft on the court."

Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., 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 & field. In all, 608 athletes are honored each year. From the pool of state winners, one national winner is selected in each of the 12 sports.

Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills 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, 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 or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.







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Katy, TX

University of Nebraska


Jess Mruzik

Farmington Hills, MI

University of Michigan


Ellie Holzman

New Orleans, LA

University of Illinois 


Thayer Hall

Roebuck, SC

University of Florida


Lexi Sun

Solana Beach, CA

University of Nebraska


Khalia Lanier

Phoenix, AZ

Zanetti Bergamo (Italy)


Mikaela Foecke

West Point, IA

Played for US Women's National Team


Alexa Filley

Louisville, KY

Played for Auburn University


Lauren Carlini

Aurora, IL

Türk Hava Yollan (Turkey); played for US Women's National Team


Jordan Burgess

Tampa, FL

Played for Stanford University; student at Stanford Medical School


Krista Vansant

Redlands, CA

Retired from US Women's National Team


Ashley Wittman

Shakopee, MN

Played for University of Minnesota


Gina Mancuso

Papillion, NE

Plays for Leonas de Ponce (Puerto Rico)


Kelly Murphy

Wilmington, IL

Retired from US Women's National Team


Alix Klineman

Manhattan Beach, CA

Team USA Beach


Megan Easy (née Hodge)

Durham, NC

Plays for Itambe/Minas (Brazil)


Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

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


Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

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


Kristin Richards

Orem, UT

Retired from US Women's National Team


Bre Ladd

Tucson, AZ

Played for University of Arizona


Ogonna Nnamani

Bloomington, IL

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


April Ross

Newport Beach, CA

Team USA Beach


Logan Tom

Pelham, AL

Retired from US Women's National Team


Sara Sandrik

Salt Lake City, UT

Played for Stanford University


Denise Boylan

Lisle, IL

Played for University of Notre Dome


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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