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CHICAGO -- In its 25th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, has announced several Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year awards in several different spring sports that are awarded to NCHSAA athletes.
Matt Roberts of Graham High School earned the 2009-10 Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year honor, while Chelsea Wilkinson of Alexander Central earned the softball award. Isaac Presson of Asheville is the men's outdoor track and field winner and Sanura Eley O'Reilly of Jack Britt High School is the 2009-10 Gatorade North Carolina Track and Field Athlete of the Year for women.
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 athletes as the state's top players in their respective sports and is part of a national program.
Here is additional information from the Gatorade Player of the Year press releases:
MATT ROBERTS, GRAHAM
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior catcher batted .500 with 56 RBI, 34 runs scored, 20 intentional walks, 13 doubles and 11 home runs this season, leading the Red Devils to the Class 2-A state championship series. A Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason Second Team All-America honoree, Roberts was a returning Class 2A First Team All-State selection and the 2009 Mid-State Conference Player of the Year,as he batted .409 with 22 RBI, 22 runs scored and eight home runs as a junior.
Roberts has maintained a 3.56 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a mentor to local elementary school students, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics and the Meals on Wheels Association of America.
CHELSEA WILKINSON, ALEXANDER CENTRAL
The 5-foot-10 sophomore right-handed pitcher posted a 27-2 record with a 0.37 ERA and 349 strikeouts in 172 innings this past season, leading the Cougars (27-2) to the third round of the Class 4-A playoffs. A National Fastpitch Coaches Association Second Team All-America selection, Wilkinson also batted .333 with 27 RBI. She was the Pitcher of the Year in her classification in 2009, when she led the Cougars to a state championship.
Wilkinson has maintained a weighted 3.99 GPA in the classroom. Also a talented musician, she has volunteered locally on behalf of Christmas toy drives for needy children. Wilkinson will begin her junior year of high school this fall.
ISAAC PRESSON, ASHEVILLE
The 6-foot-2 senior won the 800-meter run in 1:52.07, the 1,600-meter run in 4:15.99 and took second in the 3,200-meter run at this spring's NCHSAA 3-A state championship meet, leading the Cougars to first place as a team. Presson also anchored the second-place 4x800-meter relay and was named MVP of the meet. He finished second in the mile at the Penn Relays, fourth in the Jim Ryun Dream Mile and led Asheville to the state indoor track and field title as well.
Presson has maintained a weighted 4.38 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics and youth track programs.
SANURA ELEY O'REILLY, FAYETTEVILLE JACK BRITT
The 5-foot-7 senior won the 400-meter run at the NCHSAA 4-A state championship meet this spring, setting a state-meet record of 53.43 seconds, the second-fastest time in North Carolina history. her 400 clocking was the No. 8 clocking in the nation at the time of her selection. She also anchored the Buccaneers' 4x400-meter relay team, which earned silver at the state meet in 3:50.44, the second-fastest time in state history.
O'Reilly has maintained a weighted 3.50 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs.
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 and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.