Kalina Smith Of Campbell County Named 2017 Wyoming Girls Basketball Gatorade Player Of The Year
In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Kalina Smith of Campbell County High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Wyoming Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Smith is the eleventh Gatorade Wyoming Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Campbell County 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 court, distinguishes Smith as Wyoming’s best high school girls basketball player.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March, Smith joins an elite alumni association of past state girls basketball award-winners, including Maya Moore (2005-06, Collins Hill HS, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville HS, N.C.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo HS, Calif.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis HS, Ind.) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-10 senior guard and forward had led the Camels to a 24-3 record and a state runner-up finish.
Smith averaged 11.7 points, 2.7 assists, 3.2 steals, 2.3 blocks, and 3.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 76 percent from the free throw line before the start of the state tournament.
Also the state’s 2016-17 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, Smith is a First Team All-State standout in basketball as well as track & field.
A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Smith has volunteered locally an elementary school tutor and as a youth volleyball and basketball coach.
“Kalina Smith is a great competitor and is a special player, defensively,” said Curtis Martindale, head coach at Cheyenne Central High. “We literally could not get the ball inbounds when she was defending our player because she is so athletic, quick and has great timing.”
Smith has maintained a 3.46 GPA in the classroom.
She remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
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 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.
Smith joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Girls Basketball Players of the Year Robbi Ryan (2015-16 & 2014-15, Sheridan High School), Kaylee Johnson (2013-14, 2012-13 & 2011-12, Natrona County High School), Jordan Kelley (2010-11, 2009-10 & 2008-09, Campbell County High School), Kristen Scheffler (2007-08, Lovell High School), and Hillary Carlson (2006–07, Cheyenne Central High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Kalina will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.
Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.