CHICAGO (December 11, 2014) — In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Paige McKnight of Dunwoody High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year. McKnight is the first Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Dunwoody 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 McKnight as Georgia’s best high school volleyball player. McKnight 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 5-foot-9 senior setter and right-side hitter slammed 475 kills while recording a .485 kill percentage and .344 hitting percentage this past season, leading the Wildcats (43-5) to the Class AAAAA state semifinals. The Class AAAAA Player of the Year as named by the Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association, McKnight amassed 301 assists, 251 digs, 245 service receptions, 107 service aces and 43 blocks. She also led A5 Volleyball Club to a second-place finish in the 17 Open division at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships, capturing Second Team All-American honors from PrepVolleyball.com this past summer.
McKnight has maintained a 4.02 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a youth volleyball instructor, she has volunteered extensively on behalf of her church’s youth group.
“She’s an incredible player,” said A5 Volleyball Club director Bob Westbrook. “We just started training again, and one of her teammates turned to me to say, ‘She’s a freak of nature.’ She’s a great all-around player who hit and set for her high school team.”
McKnight has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Georgetown University in the fall of 2015.
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.
McKnight joins recent Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Players of the Year Haley Templeton (2013-14, Chattahoochee High School), Teegan Van Gunst (2012-13, Whitewater High School), Mary Hannah Arrington (2011-12, Pope High School), Kelly Murphy (2010-11, Walton High School), Mary Hoey (2009-10, Pope), Monique Mead (2008-09, Landmark Christian) and Betsy Smith (2007-08, Wesleyan School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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