Kalina Smith Of Gillette Named 2016 WY Volleyball Gatorade Player Of The Year
In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Kalina Smith of Campbell County High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Wyoming Volleyball Player of the Year.
Smith is the fourth Gatorade Wyoming Volleyball 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 field, distinguishes Smith as Wyoming’s best high school volleyball player.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Smith joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-07, Wahlert HS, Iowa), Alisha Glass (2005-06, Leland Public HS, Mich.), Jordan Larson (2004-05, Logan View HS, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (2004-05, St. Thomas HS, Fla.).
The 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter and setter recorded 449 kills, 327 digs and 300 assists this past season, leading the Camels (24-12) to the Class 4A semifinals.
Smith also notched 58 service aces and 42 blocks. Selected Class 4A Player of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association, she is a four-time First Team All-State honoree.
Also a talented artist, Smith has volunteered locally on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, youth volleyball camps and an elementary school anti-bullying initiative. “She performs at a high level in every volleyball skill,” said Rebecca Stewart, head coach at Laramie High. “She was the best hitter on her team—easily one of the best in the state—and she also set, served, blocked, passed and played great defense. Most teams’ game plans were literally just to try and stop her.”
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 Volleyball Players of the Year Cosette Stellern (2015-16 & 2014-15, Cheyenne East High School), Sydney Matheny (2013-14, Campbell County High School), Sally Sanders (2012-13, East High School), Caitlin McInerney (2011-12, Laramie High School), Meghan Sipe (2010-11, Cheyenne East High School), Paige Hellbaum (2009-10, Wheatland High School) and Emily Rochelle (2008-09 & 2007-08, Kelly Walsh High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Smith 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.