CHICAGO (June 9, 2023) — In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Olivia Duncan of Buford High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade Georgia Softball Player of the Year. Duncan is the first Gatorade Georgia Softball Player of the Year to be chosen from Buford 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 Duncan as Georgia’s best high school softball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Duncan joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Jordyn Bahl (2020-21, Papillion-La Vista High School, Neb.), Megan Faraimo (2017-18, Cathedral Catholic High School, Calif.), Rachel Garcia (2014-15, Highland High School, Calif.) and Cat Osterman (2000-01, Cypress Springs High School, Texas).
The 5-foot-10 senior left-handed pitcher led the Wolves to a 32-1 record and the Class 7A state championship this past season. Duncan posted a 13-1 record in the circle with a 1.61 ERA, striking out 103 batters while allowing just six walks in 87 innings. The Gwinnett Daily Post Player of the Year, Duncan was the Georgia Coaches Association’s Class 7A Pitcher of the Year. At the plate, she compiled a .325 batting average with eight home runs, 21 RBI and a .700 slugging percentage.
A member of her school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, Duncan has volunteered locally with the North Gwinnett Co-Op, providing assistance to those in need. She has also donated her time as a youth softball coach. “Olivia has a pitcher’s mentality, which means she wants the ball in her hands at all times,” said Trent Adams, head coach of Buford High School. “Watching her in the circle, you would not know if she had just given up back-to-back home runs or had a no-hitter going. Her demeanor remains the same no matter the circumstance.”
Duncan has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Clemson 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 the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Duncan joins recent Gatorade Georgia Softball Players of the Year Amber Reed (2021-22, North Gwinnett High School), Megan Bloodworth (2020-21, Crisp County High School), Brooke McCubbin (2019-20, Locust Grove High School), and Kelley Lynch (2018-19, East Coweta High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.
For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.