CHICAGO, Ill. — In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Sydney Wright of Bishop Snyder High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year. Wright is the first Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year to be chosen from Bishop Snyder High School.
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 Wright as Florida’s best high school softball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award announced in June, Wright joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Alicia Hollowell (2000-01, Fairfield HS, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Angela Tincher (2002-03, James River HS, Va.) and Kenzie Fowler (2006-07, Canyon del Oro HS, Ariz.).
The 5-foot-9 senior right-handed pitcher posted a 27-5 record in the circle along with a 0.51 ERA this past season, leading the Cardinals (28-5) to the Class 3A state championship game. Wright struck out 288 batters and walked 47 in 220.2 innings pitched with 18 shutouts and three no-hitters. At the plate, the two-time Florida Times-Union Player of the Year batted .443 with 10 home runs, 46 RBI and an .821 slugging percentage.
Wright has maintained a B average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally at a nursing home, as a youth softball coach and as part of a fundraising campaign to assist the Wounded Warriors Project.
"Sydney Wright was one of the toughest outs we faced," said Steve Callahan, head coach of Providence School. "We had a little success with her in the circle, but it seems that every time we would make a little run she could reach back for a little extra and shut us down."
Wright has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Arkansas this fall.
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 the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.
Wright joins recent Gatorade Florida Softball Players of the Year Bianka Bell (2011-12, Chamberlain High School), Sami Fagan (2010-11, Dunnellon High School), Kasey Fagan (2009-10 & 2008-09, Dunnellon), Jaclyn Traina (2007-08, Naples), and Kelsi Dunne (2006 – 07, Spruce Creek) among the state’s list of former award winners.