Chicago, IL (Dec. 8, 2015) – In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Holly Carlton of Potomac Falls High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade Virginia Volleyball Player of the Year. Carlton is the first Gatorade Virginia Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Potomac Falls 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 Carlton as Virginia’s best high school volleyball player. Carlton joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe HS, Penn.), Kim Willoughby (1998-99, 1999-00, Assumption HS, La.) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University HS, Ill).
The 6-foot-5 senior setter and outside hitter recorded 669 assists, 368 kills, 326 digs, 81 service aces and 63 blocks this past season, leading the Panthers (21-9) to the Class 5A state championship match. A 2014 Washington Post First Team All-Met selection and a 2014 Class 5A First Team All-State honoree, Carlton posted a .483 kill percentage and a .399 hitting percentage in 2015. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 1,565 assists, 944 digs and 816 kills.
Carlton has maintained a 3.41 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally with an elementary school literacy outreach program and as a peer counselor. She has also donated her time as a youth volleyball referee.
“Holly Carlton brings her team up to her level,” said Marsha Hermes, head coach of Briar Woods High. “She is involved in every single play. She is smart and finds holes in defenses easily. She does it all.”
Carlton has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of North Carolina in the fall of 2016.
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.
Carlton joins recent Gatorade Virginia Volleyball Players of the Year Ally Ford (2014-15, Flint Hill School), Alex Andrejev (2013-14, Langley High School), Hailey Brooks (2012-13, Altee High School), Breanna Atkinson (2011-12, The Madeira School), Tori Janowski (2010-11, Flint Hill School), Juliane Hanna (2009-10, Loudoun County High School), Kristin Carpenter (2008-09, Hanover High School) and Alyssa Lang (2007-08, Deep Run High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.