CHICAGO — In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade has selected Ngozi Iloh of McIntosh High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year. Iloh is the first Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from McIntosh 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 Iloh as Georgia’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Iloh joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-07, Wahlert High School, Iowa), Alisha Glass (2005-06, Leland Public High School, Mich.), Jordan Larson (2004-05, Logan View High School, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (2004-05, St. Thomas High School, Fla.).
The 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker led the Chiefs to a 33-1 record and the Class 5A state championship this past season. Iloh amassed 525 kills, 123 digs, 52 blocks and 41 service aces, while posting an outstanding hitting percentage of .383. The Class 5A Player of the Year, she was a VolleyballMag.com First Team All-American, a MaxPreps First Team All-American and a 2020-21 Under Armour Second Team All-American.
A student ambassador in her school, Iloh has volunteered locally on behalf of an animal shelter and food donation drives. “Ngozi has had a big impact on that program over the past four years,” said Allison Boes, head coach at Blessed Trinity Catholic High. “She was lethal in the front row, hitting from multiple positions, and she tore teams apart from the service line as well.”
Iloh has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Duke 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 works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Iloh joins recent Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Players of the Year Savannah Bray (2019-20, Etowah High School), Gabby Gonzales (2018-19 & 2018-17, Walton High School), and Gabby Curry (2016-17, Buford High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Iloh has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Iloh is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.