In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA High School Sports, announced Nicole Westover of Green Valley High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Nevada Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Westover is the first Gatorade Nevada Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Green Valley 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 Westover as Nevada’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Westover joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-8 senior defender scored six goals, passed for two assists and anchored a defense that allowed six goals this past season, leading the Gators (18-1-1) to the Division I state championship game. The 2012 Las Vegas Review Journal Player of the Year and the Northeast League MVP, Westover was an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Westover has maintained a 3.53 weighted GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally at a shelter for homeless youth, as an elementary school tutor and as a youth soccer coach.
“I consider Nicole to be the most complete player I have ever coached,” said Roy Snyder, head coach of Green Valley High. “She is the most consistent player I’ve been around at any level. She plays hard all the time, is an incredible competitor and just doesn’t make mistakes.”
Westover has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at UNLV beginning 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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA 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.
Westover joins recent Gatorade Nevada Girls Soccer Players of the Year Haley Wingender (2011-12, Bishop Gorman High School), Lauren Kaskie (2010 – 11, Palo Verde High School), McKenzie Karas (2009-10, Arbor View), Zakiya Bywaters (2008–09, Rancho), and Jenna Riddle (2007-08 & 2006-2007, Centennial), among the state’s list of former award winners.