The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a halt to the 2019-20 high school sports landscape, but it didn’t take away from accomplishments athletes achieved and were poised to achieve had they gotten on the field this spring.
Every year, Gatorade names a Player of the Year in a handful of high school sports in all 50 states. Let’s take a look at who received the honors in Vermont this school year.
Let’s start in the fall, the lone season untouched by the pandemic.
On the soccer field, it was tough to find anyone more impactful than Burr and Burton senior Grace Pinkus. She took home the Gatorade honors in girls soccer.
Pinkus scored 23 goals and had nine assists for the 11-4 Bulldogs. She became the second Gatorade player of the year at BBA in four years, with her freshman year teammate Georgia Lord taking the honor in 2016-17.
Pinkus will join the UMass women’s soccer team in the fall.
On the boys soccer field, Champlain Valley defender Cullen Swett took home the honor. Swett led a dominant CVU defense that allowed just six goals last fall, en route to a Division I state championship.
Swett signed on to play his college soccer close to home at the University of Vermont.
On the football field, BBA quarterback/safety Joey McCoy was practically impossible to stop.
McCoy passed for more than 3,000 yards and more than 40 touchdowns, while running in 16 scores as well. His 16 touchdown passes in the postseason led the Bulldogs to their second straight championship and first in Division I.
For his efforts, he earned the Gatorade honors, an accolade fellow BBA alumnus Griff Stalcup won in 2016-17.
Essex’s Henry Farrington was the boys cross country winner.
Farrington was an individual Division I state champion last fall and helped the Hornets to a second-place finish in the meet. Farrington earned the Gatorade honor as a junior as well. He’ll continue his career at UMass-Lowell in the fall.
Harwood sophomore Ava Thurston took home the honor on the girls side. Thurston was an individual Division II state champion and helped the Highlanders to a team title as well.
She was the first Harwood girl to receive the honor.
On the volleyball court, Mount Mansfield libero Syrah Wright was the Gatorade winner.
The junior had 111 digs, 93 service aces, 42 assists and 22 kills for the Cougars.
Moving to the winter, St. Johnsbury guard Logan Wendell gave defenses fits throughout the season for a veteran Hilltoppers squad.
Wendell averaged 24.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game, helping St. Johnsbury to a Division I title game appearance.
Wendell joins a highly-touted group of former winners of the Gatorade award, including Rutland’s Jamison Evans, who won the award last year.
Windsor’s Olivia Rockwood capped off her incredible high school career with this year’s girls basketball Gatorade honor.
Rockwood was the first Yellow Jackets girls player to earn the honor, following a season where she averaged 22.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 4.8 steals per game heading into the playoffs.
Rockwood continues her career at the University of Maine this year.
Mount Anthony senior Rebecca Crosier’s name fills up the record books at MAU and a Gatorade player of the year honor in track and field caps off her magnificent career.
She won three individual state championships this past winter, bringing her total to seven for her career.
She continues her career at UMass-Lowell this year.
Essex’s Wyatt Lamell took the honor on the boys side. His best showing was in the long jump, which he won going away at the Division I state championships.
Only a junior, Lamell can defend his honor this winter.
The baseball and softball honorees have an interesting caveat that they didn’t even throw a pitch or hit a ball to earn the accolade.
The baseball honor went to South Burlington pitcher Jack Ambrosino.
The right-hander had a career earned run average under 2.00 with the Wolves. He continues his baseball career at Holy Cross.
BFA-St. Albans catcher Meghan Connor earned the Gatorade honor in softball.
She had a career average of .512 and broke numerous offensive records at the school.
She’ll play softball at Endicott.