UW Signees Take Top National Awards
Dec. 16, 2010
SEATTLE - Washington's two incoming volleyball recruits each have received two of the most prestigious individual awards in the sport to cap off their prep careers. On Wednesday, Krista Vansant was named Gatorade National Player of the Year, and Summer Ross was recently tabbed USA Volleyball Beach Female Athlete of the Year.
Vansant, from Redlands, Calif., was surprised with the award at her high school by former winner, World Champion and professional beach player April Ross (no relation to Summer). She had been previously named California State Player of the Year.
Rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2011 by PrepVolleyball.com, Krista recorded 589 kills, 299 digs, 33 blocks and 26 service aces this past season while posting a kill percentage of .557. She has also been recognized as an Under Armour All-American and the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 1A Player of the Year.
"Without question, Krista is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school volleyball player based on her statistics on the court and the impact her accomplishments have had on Redland East Valley's success," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms. "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
Vansant Led the Wildcats (30-6) to the California State Division I regional semifinals. A 2010 USA Junior Nationals 18-Open All-Tournament Team selection and 2008 U.S. Girls Youth National Training Team roster invitee, Vansant also captured 2008 PrepVolleyball.com National Sophomore of the Year honors.
"This is such a prestigious award," Vansant said to the Press-Enterprise. "Look who has won this award: Kerri Walsh, April Ross and so many other greats. These are players I've looked up to over the years. To think my name now is there is insane."
A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Vansant from more than 403,000 high school volleyball players nationwide. Vansant 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.
Past winners of the National Player of the Year honor have included four-time Stanford All-American Alix Klineman, three-time NCAA Champion Megan Hodge, and U.S. Olympians Logan Tom and Kerri Walsh. Gatorade National Athletes of the Year in other sports have included legendary names like Peyton Manning, Lisa Leslie, Kevin Garnett, Derek Jeter, LeBron James, and Emmitt Smith.
While Vansant dominated indoors, Ross made history on the beach. The Carlsbad, Calif. native became the first athlete of either gender to win both the FIVB Youth World Championships and the FIVB Junior World Championships in the same year.
Ross is the first youth or junior player ever to earn USA Volleyball Beach Female Athlete of the Year honors. She will now be nominated for the United States Olympic Committee SportsWoman of the Year.
Ross, who turns 18 this month, and partner Jane Croson (Lakewood, Calif.) made history when they became the first U.S. team to win the gold medal at the FIVB Youth (Under-19) World Championships on Aug. 1 in Porto, Portugal.
Ross topped that accomplishment in September when she and partner Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Calif.) became the first U.S. team to win the gold medal at the FIVB Junior (Under-21) World Championships in Alanya, Turkey.
"I just thought it was fun," she said. "All the tournaments we played in; they were just really fun. We wanted to win. But we also wanted to have fun; no pressure."
Said Ali Wood Lamberson, USA Volleyball's Director of Beach Programs, who coached Summer along with USAV's Jon Aharoni, "Summer brings so much more than her on-court success to our program. She personifies the team culture that USAV Beach is working to establish by combining humility and dedication with passion and competitiveness. That is a rare combo in such a young athlete."
Ross also had success on the 2010 AVP Tour before it ceased operations on Aug. 13.
Despite being the 38th seed in qualifying at the event in Santa Barbara (April 29-May2), Croson and Ross made it to the main draw, where they lost in the first round to Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.). However they battled back in the consolation bracket and won two matches, finishing 13th overall.
The team also qualified for the main draw at the AVP Tour event in Hermosa Beach (July 16-18).
Information from USA Volleyball contributed to this report.