In its 27th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Shelbi Vaughan of Legacy High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Texas Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Vaughan is the first Gatorade Texas Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Legacy 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 track, distinguishes Vaughan as Texas' best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Vaughan joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Allyson Felix (2001-02, Los Angeles Baptist, 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.), Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt HS, Ia.) and Bianca Knight (2006-07, Ridgeland HS, Miss.).
The 6-foot-2 senior launched the discus 198 feet, 9 inches Friday at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships, setting the national high school and junior records in the event. Vaughan won the discus at the UIL Class 5A state championships with a throw of 187-10, and also took first by launching the shot put 50-1.25.
Vaughan has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally feeding the homeless and assisting physically challenged students in her school.
"Shelbi is a gifted athlete and a strong leader," said Legacy High coach Lacy Beckler. "She has helped lead her teammates by example, and the community that surrounds her in Mansfield and at our school adore her."
Vaughan has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at Texas A&M University 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 ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.
Vaughan joins recent Gatorade Texas Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Jennifer Madu (2010-11, Plano East Senior High School), A'Lexus Brannon (2009-10, Ozen Magnet), Chelsey Sveinsson (2008-09, Greenhill School), and Donique' Flemings (2007-08, Saginaw) among the state's list of former award winners.
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