Tuesday night at the 17th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards, Kelley Lynch was named the 2019 Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year and Bobby Witt Jr. was named the 2019 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year.
Lynch is the first-ever softball player to win the award and Witt, only the third baseball player to win.
Lynch and Witt were honored at the awards dinner co-hosted by future NFL Hall-of-Famer, Peyton Manning and ESPN SportsCenter Host, Sage Steele.
The event was attended by a bevy of professional athletes including:
- Allyson Felix, 2003 Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year and six-time Olympic gold medalist
- Todd Gurley, Gatorade roster athlete and Los Angeles Rams running back
- Sony Michel, 2013-14 Gatorade Florida Football Player of the Year and New England Patriots running back
- Karl-Anthony Towns, 2014 Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year and Minnesota Timberwolves center
- Abby Wambach, 1997-98 Gatorade New York Girls Soccer Player of the Year and 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion
“There are almost six million student-athletes who participate in the sports that our 12 nominees play,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “Kelley and Bobby won because of their accomplishments both on and off the field, which is what makes Gatorade Athlete of the Year the most prestigious award in high school sports.”
Established in 1985, the Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their accomplishments on and off the field. Winners are selected 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.
One National Player of the Year is awarded in each sport. In 2003, the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards were established to honor the nation’s top overall male and female high school athletes from among the 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year recognized during the high school athletic season.
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.
2018-19 GATORADE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
Georgia’s returning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Lynch of East Coweta High School (Sharpsburg, Ga.), led the Indians to a 32-2 record and their second consecutive Class 7A state championship this past season. She compiled a 17-0 record with a 0.27 ERA, along with a .436 batting average, three home runs and 25 RBI. Below are additional facts about Lynch:
- First softball player to win the Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year award in program history
- Named Player of the Year by both the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and the Georgia Dugout Club
- Ranked as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019
- A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and youth softball teams
- Maintained an A average in the classroom
- Committed to play softball on scholarship at the University of Washington this fall
Bobby Witt Jr.:
Witt of Colleyville Heritage High School (Colleyville, Texas), led the Panthers to a 39-3 record and the Texas Class 5A state title. He batted .482 with 15 doubles, nine triples and 15 home runs, piling up 55 RBI, half of which (28) came with two outs. He posted an OBP of .562, a slugging percentage of 1.051 and a dizzying 1.613 OPS to go with 28 walks and 19 steals on 22 attempts. Below are additional facts about Witt:
- On the mound, he recorded five saves to go with a 1.80 ERA in 12 relief appearances, striking out 24 batters and issuing just three walks in 11.2 innings on the mound
- Witt compiled a WHIP of 1.03 and opposing batters hit just .205 against him
- Selected twice for the Under Armour All-American Game where he earned MVP honors
- Member of the 2018 USA Baseball 18U National Team
- Nation’s top-ranked prep prospect by Baseball America, Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report
- Member of Students Stand Strong and Colleyville Heritage's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter
- Served as a Peer Assistant Leadership Group at his school, a youth baseball instructor and a participant in the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program
- Maintained a weighted 4.0 GPA in the classroom
- Drafted No. 2 overall to the Kansas City Royals in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, the highest-ever draft selection of a Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year
From the 12 national award winners in 12 different sports, Gatorade names one male and one female athlete as the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
All Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year nominees will walk The ESPYS red carpet and be featured as special guests during the show. The ESPYS take place Wednesday evening and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET.